The Ecology Behind Lyme Disease

Keeping You Tick Free


When it comes to Lyme Disease nothing is simple. When you have a disease transmitted by an insect that requires three different hosts – its not surprising. You are dealing with a complex disease.

The book “Lyme Disease – The Ecology Of A Complex System ” by Richard S. Ostfeld   really helps you to understand the complexity of this disease. Although written from a scientific perspective “Lyme Disease – The Ecology Of  A Complex System “ is not boring.  It has a nice flow to it and is extremely informative.

All too often the medical and scientific communities  take  a “micro” perspective of diseases that plague us. This approach tends to be particularly prevalent here in the west.  The end result is a nearly fanatical focus on the symptoms while woefully neglecting the causes.  The end result is a failure to fully comprehend what it is we are really dealing with. When it comes to Lyme Disease this has been particularly apparent.  Our understanding of this complex disease is not that well advanced. Fortunately,  strides have been made to better understand the causes behind this disease.  “Lyme Disease – The Ecology Of A Complex System “ is one of those resources that sets out to do just that .

What I Learned From “Lyme Disease – The Ecology Of A Complex System “

Prior to reading this book my understanding of Lyme disease was rather simple. For example, my belief was that deer played the largest role in the spread of it. Upon finishing the book my understanding of the natural causes, behind this disease, was broadened immensely.

Here are just a few of the things that you will learn from this book:

  • Reducing the deer population on small parcels of land will actually increase the black -legged (deer) tick population ( the vector for Lyme Disease)
  • The Lyme spirochete is nearly exclusively transmitted to black legged ticks by rodents NOT white-tailed deer.
  • Tick saliva is loaded with anticoagulants, analgesics, antihistamines and anti-inflammatories. These characteristics help to explain how a tick can attach itself effectively with little notice from the host.
  • White- food mice are the most efficient hosts for transmitting the Lyme spirochete to feeding larval ticks.
  • An abundant acorn crop  will be followed by an explosion of black legged ticks – two summers later.
  • Western – fence lizards have a protein in their blood that kills the Lyme spirochete.
  • Most transmissions of the Lyme disease to people, by the black legged tick, occur during the nymph stage. This explains why most people who get Lyme never recall being bitten by a tick
  • Wild turkeys will only eat black legged ticks when they are found attached to their bodies. They will not eat them when foraging.

“Lyme Disease – The Ecology Of A Complex System “   is a very informative book. Its interesting and filled with information that will give you a better understanding about the lifecycle of the black legged tick and the complex environmental conditions behind Lyme Disease.

Its a must read for anyone who spends time in the woods.

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