Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Small mammal ecology and Lyme disease on Martha=s Vineyard

May 2002 - May 2005


Participating Agencies

  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Martha's Vineyard has one of the highest prevalences of Lyme disease in Massachusetts. We tested the effectiveness of bait boxes, which treat small mammals with pesticide, in reducing the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi (disease agent) in small mammals and ticks. Deer tick and B. burgdorferi prevalence decreased as a result of the treatment, thus we have identified a useful technique for reducing the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease. This has important implications for reducing human illness and mortality in the region, and across the country.