Nathan Nieto, a biologist at Northern Arizona University who studies vector-borne pathogens, is available to discuss the CDC report on the increase in infections submitted by insects. His current projects include studying the tickets that spread Lyme and relapsing fever, and his overall focus is the evolution of infectious diseases in wild animals and how that translates into transmitting diseases to humans. In a partnership with the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, his lab also tests ticks from throughout the United States; people who have been bitten send the tick to his lab to determine what kind of tick it is and whether it’s infected with Lyme.

In a nutshell, Nate said this: "The CDC data appears to show an increase in the incidence of Lyme from 30,000 to 300,000 a couple years ago and the primary vector (Ixodes scapulars) have increased in their range, mostly moving northward. Additionally, there are a lot more ticks and pathogens than just the Lyme disease complex. Amblyomma spp, which is a voracious feeder, has also been identified in the Northeast, where it was usually just in the southern U.S. Depending on where you are in the country, ticks may emerge at a time when most folks aren’t aware of them, easily the result of shifts in phenology due to climate change."

For more elaboration, Nate is available at [email protected] or 928-523-8034.