Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Sharon Medcalf, PhD

Second Committee Member

David Brett-Major, MD MPH

Third Committee Member

Paraskevi Farazi, PhD


Since its discovery more than 40 years ago, there has been an increasing occurrence of Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness found predominantly in the Northeastern region of the United States. Studies have shown that environmental factors play an important role on the life cycle of ticks. Due to the complexity of environmental changes as well as the life cycle of different tick species, the variety of factors that could influence the increase in Lyme disease can be different depending on tick species and region. This study compared different regions of New Jersey, a highly Lyme disease endemic state. The study compared two New Jersey counties with the most reported cases to two counties with the least reported cases and to evaluate whether certain extrinsic factors, climate change and the ticks’ reservoir hosts, are affecting the different counties in the same manner. Running an ANOVA procedure and multiple linear regressions show that precipitation is not significantly different among the counties, but all other variables are significantly different, the all-four counties linear regression model suggests that deer population and average temperature are significantly associated with Lyme rates whereas individual county models suggests that only deer population is statistically significant. This research suggests that even close, nearby regions may possess differently evolved tick populations that react differently to environmental factors.

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Public Health Commons