Our Research Program
The most prevalent vector-borne diseases in the United States are caused by pathogens transmitted by ticks. Epidemiologic data indicate that the incidences of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, spotted fever rickettsiosis, and ehrlichiosis, have increased exponentially over the past several decades, especially in Alabama. However, little research on ticks or tick-borne illnesses has been undertaken in Alabama since the problem has come light. To improve our understanding of pathogen transmission and regional variation in the risk of acquiring tick-borne diseases, we are conducting a study that will increase our knowledge of tick ecology across the state, tick-borne pathogens associated with each tick species, distributions of tick hosts and competent pathogen reservoirs, and environmental factors that influence disease transmission. Additionally, from our findings we will develop a tick and tick-borne disease risk prediction system that incorporates changes in climate, habitat availability, and seasons. Our work will provide insight into an important public health issue in the state while generating hypotheses and a foundation for future research.
Emily Merritt, TickResearch@auburn.edu
We would like to thank the following for their support: