Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Dr. Kendra Ratnapradipa

Second Committee Member

Dr. Azar M. Abadi

Third Committee Member

Dr. Abraham D. Mengist


Vector-borne illnesses are a growing serious global public health threat. According to the CDC, Lyme disease (LD) is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. Since the discovery, LD has increased in both incidence and geographical distribution. Vector life cycles and disease transmission are highly sensitive to abiotic conditions; as such, it is expected that climate change will alter the geographic distribution and magnitude of vector-borne illnesses. Certain facets of climate change like precipitation patterns, greater climate variability, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather events may be a key driving force in the increase of vectors and vector-borne diseases. Extreme high and low temperatures influence vector survival, low humidity decreases vectors’ host and/or meal-seeking activities, and too little or too much rainfall affects vector reproduction rates. This study aims to answer the following questions: 1) Is there a relationship between Lyme disease (LD) cases and the climate variables precipitation and temperature? 2) Does the distribution of LD cases vary across the different climate regions in the U.S.? 3) Is the association between climate factors and LD cases consistent across the US?

Included in

Public Health Commons