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The contested geographies of Lyme Disease in Oregon

Authors: Melinda Butterworth*, Willamette University, Jamie Smith, Willamette University , Karmen Chavez-Sam, Willamette University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: health and medical geography, vector-borne disease, lyme disease
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Lyme Disease is, along with its associated co-infections, is the most frequently reported vector-borne disease in the United States, however, it is also the most contentious. Though it receives less national attention, a regional cluster is present along the Pacific coast. CDC estimates suggest that in 2016 California reported 134 confirmed and probable cases, Oregon reported 61, and Washington 31. Masked behind these official counts are debates about mis/diagnosis, treatment, risk, and expertise, representing a complex public health dilemma that spans the social and ecological sciences. Informed by interviews, surveys, and news articles, this poster examines the competing understandings and perceptions of ecological risk in Oregon, along with the social, geographic, and economic barriers to accessing care.

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