Back in 2016, an M.I.T. Biologist took a fresh approach in the fight against Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is most often spread to humans by deer ticks, but the deer ticks first must become infected. Typically, the deer ticks pick up Borrelia burgdorferi from white-footed mice, which they feed on as larvae or nymph ticks. When they become nymph or adult ticks, they will travel on deer who bring them to homes and yards. Massachusetts officials have long battled with the public over the idea of lowering the deer population to limit the incidence of Lyme disease; a method that is not popular among animal lovers.
Mice Against Ticks: Can mice be used to stop Lyme infection?
To appease the public, the chairman of the board of public health for Nantucket, Dr. Malcolm MacNab proposed a new approach. He found that an evolutionary biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology wanted to stop the bacteria earlier in the cycle, by starting with white-footed mice.
As reported by the New York Times, Dr. Esvelt of M.I.T. proposed at a meeting on Nantucket Island that he could create mice which are immune to either the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria or a protein in the deer ticks’ saliva, or both. This immunity would break the transmission cycle in the earliest phase. He proposed that if he is successful in creating the Lyme immune mice, that he would then release them on a small uninhabited island and track the number of infected ticks. If the infected tick population is significantly reduced within a couple of years, they would release in more Massachusetts locales.
The first trials for the program were approved for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in 2019.
Help prevent Lyme disease with professional Hingham tick control.
What will become of gene-editing mice and even mosquitoes to protect us from vector-borne illnesses in Massachusetts, is yet to be seen. What we do have now, readily available, is EPA-registered tick control. Mosquito Squad’s Hingham tick control program has been protecting families from the threat of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses since 2005. Our effective tick control measures can be deployed year-round for the highest level of protection for your family. Until science is able to offer less prominence of Lyme infection, starting with gene-edited mice, Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South is here to help you enjoy the areas outside of your home more safely.
Begin your Hingham tick control with Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South today to help reduce the number of ticks around your home! Call us today at (781) 471-5793.