Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Nicholas Gotelli

Second Advisor

Ellen Martinsen


Tick-borne zoonoses, Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesia microti, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Climate change projections, Epidemiological modeling


Tick-borne zoonoses represent a significant and escalating public health threat, particularly in the United States, where ixodid (family Ixodidae) ticks serve as vectors for an array of tick-borne pathogens. With the release of climate change projections, understanding the complex interplay between environmental variables and disease dynamics becomes paramount. This study integrates epidemiological, molecular, and climatological data to investigate the influence of temperature and precipitation on the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesia microti, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum within adult Ixodes scapularis populations. Leveraging multiple linear regression models and climate projections, my analysis reveals associations between climatic factors and pathogen prevalence rates. While temperature emerges as a key determinant, precipitation exhibits a comparatively lower influence. By extrapolating current trends into future climate scenarios, our projections suggest a notable escalation in disease incidence by 2070. Despite inherent limitations in our model, including data constraints and potential overestimation of pathogen prevalence, our findings underscore the urgent need for continued research and proactive public health measures to mitigate the threat of tick-borne zoonoses amidst a changing climate. This comprehensive approach provides valuable insights into the dynamic nature of environmental factors, vector ecology, and disease transmission dynamics, informing targeted strategies for disease prevention and protection of the public health.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.