Lyme Disease Risk in the Southeastern United States based on Estimated Land Cover Projections

Authors: Logan Stevens*, Virginia Tech, Korine Kolivras, Virginia Tech, Valerie Thomas, Virginia Tech, James Campbell, Virginia Tech
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: Medical Geography, Lyme Disease, GIS
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Lyme disease is the most significant vector-borne disease in the United States, recognized for its southward advance over the past several decades. Previous research has examined the potential role of climate change on the disease’s continued expansion, but no studies have considered the role of future land cover patterns upon its advance, despite strong association between land cover and Lyme disease emergence. This research examines Lyme disease risk in the southeastern United States based on estimated land cover projections under four different Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report Emissions Scenarios A1B, A2, B1, and B2. Based on previous research completed in Virginia, developed and herbaceous land cover, and the edges between both herbaceous and forested land and between herbaceous and developed land are all significantly associated with human Lyme disease occurrence. We use the model developed in that study to quantify future Lyme disease risk under different land cover scenarios in the Southeast within the same Level III ecoregions present in Virginia. Results of the spatial analysis are presented as Lyme disease risk maps for each decade from 2020 to 2100. Results of this study will provide information to public health officials in the study area that are likely to have the ideal land cover configuration for continued Lyme disease spread in the coming decades.

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