Press Herald interviews Elias, Dill for Lyme disease article

Susan Elias and Griffin Dill were sources for a Portland Press Herald piece about the 29 percent decrease in Lyme disease cases this year in Maine. The state recorded 1,310 Lyme cases through Dec. 27, 2018, down from 1,852 (an all-time high) in 2017, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The big challenge for tick survival may not be the winter, but may be the summer,” said Elias, a research associate at Maine Medical Center Research Institute and a University of Maine Ph.D. candidate whose dissertation is on Lyme disease and deer tick abundance in Maine, as related to climate, hosts, habitat and human behavior. “Ticks are like Goldilocks. It can’t be too hot or too cold or too dry. It has to be just right. But they are experts at finding the right microclimate for them, so if it’s too hot and dry, for instance, they will retreat under the leaf litter.” Dill, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension integrated pest management professional, said it’s difficult to tell whether 2017 was an aberration or if 2018 represents a one-year drop. Dill said there were 20 percent fewer tick identification submissions this year to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory. Journal Tribune carried the Press Herald report.