Lyme disease: Massive tick-killing effort fails to reduce spread of disease

Killing ticks in an area reduces the number carrying the main bacterium that causes Lyme disease, but a large study found it does not lead to fewer reports of people getting sick

Health



9 February 2023

A person spraying some plants

Chemical sprays that kill ticks seem to be ineffective at preventing the spread of Lyme disease

Shutterstock/New Africa

Tick-killing chemicals may not be enough to reduce rates of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases on their own. The largest study of its kind on using tick control to prevent disease found killing ticks reduced the number and proportion of ticks carrying the main bacterium that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), but did not lead to fewer reports of people getting sick.

Rates of Lyme disease in the US have increased several-fold in …

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