Since l988, the Lyme Disease Research Group at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute has been conducting field studies, epidemiologic surveys, and a vaccine trial to map the expanding distribution in Maine of the Lyme disease vector tick, to increase understanding of the environmental factors that influence its spread, to explore methods of controlling the tick in nature and to contribute data demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of a new Lyme vaccine. We are also involved in research studies of other tick-borne diseases and West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. More details are provided by a review of our publications.
Smith, R. P. Jr., P. W. Rand and E. H. Lacombe.: Potential for Lyme Disease in Maine: Deer survey of distribution of Ixodes dammini, the tick vector. Am J Public Health, 80:333-335, 1990.
This study first revealed that deer were hosting ticks in southern Maine.
Rand, P. W., Smith, R. P. Jr., and E. H. Lacombe: Canine seroprevalence and the distribution of Ixodes dammini in an area of emerging Lyme disease. Am J. Public Health, 81:1331-1334, 1991.
This study, involving 16 veterinary clinics statewide and over 800 dogs, demonstrated that the Lyme bacteria was being transmitted to dogs within twenty miles of the Maine coast along its entire length.
Smith, R. P. Jr., E. H. Lacombe, P. W. Rand, and R. Dearborn: Diversity of tick species biting humans in an emerging area for Lyme disease. Am J Public Health, 82:66-69, 1992.Of 709 human biting ticks submitted from Maine in 1989 and 1990, 17% were I.dammini, 34% were I.cookei, the woodchuck tick, and 45% were dog ticks, Dermacentor variabilis.
Lacombe, E. H., P. W. Rand, and R. P. Smith, Jr.: Disparity of Borrelia burgdorferi infection rates of adult Ixodes dammini on deer and vegetation. J Infect Dis, 167:1236-1238, 1993.
The infection rate in feeding adult ticks removed from deer was 13%, while the infection rate among questing adult at the same location was 47%. The cause of this reduction remains to be discovered.
Rand, P. W., E. H. Lacombe, R. P. Smith, Jr., S. M. Rich, C. W. Kilpatrick, C. A. Dragoni, and D. Caporale: Competence of Peromyscus maniculatus (Rodentia: Cricetidae) as a reservoir host for Borrelia burgdorferi (Spirochaetares: Spirochaetaceae) in the wild. J Med Entomol, 30: 614-618, 1993.
This study demonstrated, on an island where they were the only species of mouse present, that deer mice were competent reservoir hosts for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Caporale, D. A., T. D. Kocher, R. P. Smith, Jr., P. W. Rand, and E. H. Lacombe: OspB sequence variation of Borrelia burgdorferi along the coast of Maine. Proceedings of the 2nd European Symposium on Lyme Disease. Ann Rheum Dis, 52:408, 1993.
Using PCR and DNA sequencing, 7 unique OspB gene sequences were found among 5l isolates of B. burgdorferi from five sites along the Maine coast. Multiple strains of the bacteria were found at individual sites and within tissues from a single rat.
Smith, R. P., Jr., P. W. Rand, E. H. Lacombe, S. R. Telford, III, S. M. Rich, J. Piesman, and A. Spielman: Norway rats as reservoir hosts for Lyme disease spirochetes on Monhegan Island, Maine. J Infect Dis, 168:687-691, 1993.
For the first time, it was shown that Norway rats are very competent reservoir hosts of the agent of Lyme disease.
Rand, P. W., E. H. Lacombe, R. P. Smith, Jr., K. Gensheimer, and D. T. Dennis: Low seroprevalence of human Lyme disease near a focus of high entomolgic risk. Am J Trop Med Hyg 55:160-164, 1996.
Within a 5km x 8km area, a strong correlation existed between deer sightings and canine Lyme sero-positivity, which was 100% near the coast. Despite the high risk of exposure near the coast, only 2 of 272 persons were seropositive.
Smith, R. P. Jr., P. W. Rand, E. H. Lacombe, S. R. Morris, D. W. Holmes, and D. A. Caporale: Role of bird migration in the long-distance dispersal of Ixodes dammini, the vector of Lyme disease. J Infect Dis 174:221-224, 1996.
From 1989 through 1994,1.2% of 11,324 spring-migrating birds and 0.2% of 8607 fall-migrating birds, mist-netted on a small, isolated, offshore island where the tick is not established were infested with Ixodes dammini. Twenty percent of nymphal ticks were infected.
Rand, P. W., E. H. Lacombe, R. P. Smith, Jr., and J. Ficker: Participation of birds (Aves) in the emergence of Lyme disease in southern Maine: J Med Entomol 35(3):270-276, 1998.
Over 2600 larval and nymphal deer ticks were removed from 1713 of 1972 passerine birds during nesting seasons in south coastal Maine from 1989 through 1996. Twenty five of 64 species were infested, and certain of these species were reservoir competent while others were not.
Kierans, J. E., and E. H. Lacombe: First records of Amblyomma americanum, Ixodes (Ixodes) dentatus, and Ixodes (Ceratixodes) uriae (Acari: Ixodidae) from Maine. J. Parasitol., 84(3): 629-631, 1998.
The records of three ixodid tick species in the State of Maine are reported. Amblyomma americanum, common in States to the south, is a potential vector of a different Borrelia species and monocytic ehrlichiosis. In Scandinavia, Ixodes uriae, which is found on puffins and other seabirds, has been shown to carry the Lyme disease spirochete. This is the first report of I. uriae in eastern United States. Dr. J. E. Keirans is the curator of the U. S. National Tick Collection at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA.
Lacombe, E. H., P. W. Rand, and R. P. Smith, Jr.: Severe reaction in domestic animals following the bite of Ixodes muris (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks. J Med Entomol. 36(3):227-232,1999.
This paper reports 43 cases of severe pain and swelling accompanied by lethargy, anorexia and fever in 42 dogs and cats and 1 goat following the bite of this tick.
Dolan, M. C., E. H. Lacombe, and J. Piesman: Vector Competence of Ixodes muris (Acari: Ixodidae) for Borrelia burgdorferi. J Med Entomol. 37(5):766-768,2000.
This paper discusses the vector competence of Ixodes muris for Borrelia burgdorferi.
Rand, P. W., E. H. Lacombe, M. S. Holman, C. Lubelczyk and R. P. Smith, Jr.: Attempt to control ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) on deer on an isolated island using Ivermectin-treated corn. J Med. Entomol. 37(1):126-133, 2000.
This paper describes a three-year effort to control ticks by feeding deer corn laced with an acaricide on Monhegan Island, Maine.
Robert P. Smith, MD, MPH; Robert T. Schoen, MD; Daniel W. Rahn, MD; Vijay K. Sikand, MD; John Nowakowski, MD; Dennis L. Parenti, MD; Mary S. Holman, BA, David H. Persing, MD, PhD; and Allen C. Steere, MD: Clinical Characteristics and Treatment Outcome of Early Lyme Disease in Patients with Microbiologically Confirmed Erythema Migrans. Annals of Internal Medicine136(6):421-428, 2002.
This study was designed to describe the early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. Researchers followed almost 11,000 people in a study to test a Lyme disease vaccine in 10 states where Lyme disease frequently occurs. Of these, 118 had Lyme disease that was documented with special tests for infection. The patients had visited their physicians a few days after the appearance of a red rash. The rash usually had the same color throughout (59%) or was redder in the center (32%). Only 9% of the rashes had a clear area in the middle ("classic" Lyme disease rash). About 1/3 of the patents also reported flu-like symptoms such as muscle and joint pains and headache. Rashes and symptoms usually went away with antibiotic treatment.
Courtney,T., S. Sears, J. Woytowicz, D. Preston , R. Smith, P. Rand, E. Lacombe, M. Holman, et al: Outbreak of Powassan encephalitis in Maine and Vermont 1999-2001. MMWR 50(35):761-764, 2001.
This paper reports on three cases of Powassan virus resulting in encephalitis, acquired in-state by Maine residents, in 2000 and 2001.
Rand, P.W., C. Lubelczyk, G.R. Lavigne, S. Elias, M.S. Holman, E.H. Lacombe, and R.P. Smith: Deer density and abundance of Ixodes scapularis (Acari:Ixodidae). J Med Entomol 40(2): 179-184, 2003.
This paper demonstrated the relationship between deer presence as measured by pellet group counts and adult deer tick abundance on study plots in southern Maine in 1998 -2000. Few ticks were collected at deer densities <7/km2.
Goethert, H.K., C. Lubelczyk, E. Lacombe, M. Holman, P. Rand, R.P. Smith, S.R.Telford III : Enzootic Babesia microti in Maine. J Parasitol 89(5): 1069-1071, 2003.
The agent of human babesiosis exists in mammals in areas of coastal Maine where deer ticks are rare or non-existent. Two forms of B. microti were demonstrated by phylogenetic analysis.
Lyme Borreliosis: Biology, Epidemiology, and Control. Clinical Infectious Diseases (37) 1724-6, 2003
This publication represents a book review by Dr. Smith that was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Holman, M.S, D.A. Caporale, J. Goldberg, E.Lacombe, C. Lubelczyk, P.W. Rand, and R.P. Smith: Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, and Borrelia burgdorferi in Ixodes scapularis, Southern Coastal Maine. EID 10(4):744-746, 2004.
The agents of two other deer tick transmitted diseases, babesiosis and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, were discovered in Maine deer ticks, using polymerase chain reaction. Small numbers of ticks were shown to be co-infected.
Rand, P.W., M.S. Holman, C. Lubelcyzk, E.L. Lacombe, A.T. DeGaetano and R.P. Smith: Thermal Accumulation and the early development of Ixodes scapularis. J Vector Ecol 29(1):164-176, 2004.
Degree day data were collected in natural settings at sites throughout Maine as engorged female deer ticks developed and laid eggs and those eggs hatched out larvae. Maps were constructed to demonstrate areas in the northeastern U.S. where temperatures were potentially sufficient for Ixodes scapularis larvae to be produced.
Rand P.W., C. Lubelczyk, M.S. Holman, E.H. Lacombe, and R.P. Smith: Abundance of Ixodes scapularis (Acari:Ixodidae) after the complete removal of deer from an isolated offshore island, endemic for Lyme disease. J. Med. Entomol. 41(4):779-784, 2004.
This paper tracks the decline of an established population of deer ticks on Monhegan Island after the deer herd was completely removed in the late 1990s.
Lubelczyk C, S. P. Elias, P.W. Rand, M.S. Holman, E.H. Lacombe, and R.P. Smith, Jr.: Habitat associations of Ixodes scapularis (Acari:Ixodidae) in Maine. Environ. Entomol. 33(4): 900-906, 2004.
In 1998 - 2000, at three sites in coastal Maine, deer ticks were found more often in study sites that had a shrub layer, deciduous leaf litter, forest grasses, moist-soil ferns and greater than 50% tree canopy closure than in study sites that lacked those features.
Stone E.G., E.H. Lacombe, and P.W. Rand: Antibody Testing and Lyme Disease Risk. Emerg Inf Dis. 11(5):722-724, 2005
This study examined >9000 dogs for antibodies to Lyme disease using the IDEXX 3Dx kit. Positive dog samples correlated with the current distribution of deer ticks and cases of human Lyme disease in Maine.
Holman, M.S., R.F. Darsie, Jr., and K.A. Foss. A checklist of the mosquitoes of Maine with new state records. J Amer Mosq Con Assoc. 22 (2): 327-329, 2006.
This paper updates current species of mosquitoes found in Maine.
Smith R.P. Current diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Comp Ther. 31(4): 284-290, 2005.
This paper reviews the presentation and treatment of human Lyme disease along with the role of serological testing in detection.
Elias S. P., C.B. Lubelczyk, P.W. Rand, E.H. Lacombe, M.S. Holman, and R.P. Smith Jr.: Deer browse resistant exotic-invasive understory: an indicator of elevated human risk of exposure to Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in southern coastal Maine woodlands. J Med Entomol. 43(6):1142-52, 2006.
An association of habitat features with the abundance of ticks was made showing landscape changes, including the invasion by exotic vegetation, might create favorable tick habitat. These findings could prove helpful in assessing local risk of exposure to this vector tick.
Smith, R.P. Jr, S. Bin Muzaffar, J. Lavers, E.H. Lacombe, B.K. Cahill, C.B. Lubelczyk, A. Kinsler, A.J. Mathers, and P.W. Rand. Borrelia garinii in Seabird Ticks (Ixodes uriae), Atlantic Coast, North America. Emerg. Inf. Dis. 12(12):1909-1912, 2006.
Describes the first report of Borrelia garinii, a European strain of the agent of Lyme disease, in North America and discusses the potential public health implications of this finding.
Lubelczyk, C., T. Hanson, E. Lacombe, M. Holman, and J. Keirans. First United States record of the hard tick Ixodes (Pholeoixodes) gregsoni Lindquist, Wu, and Redner. J. of Parasitol. 93(3), 2007.
This study reports the first U.S. record of this tick species obtained from mustelids and domestic animals in Vermont and Maine.
P.W. Rand, E.H. Lacombe, R. Dearborn, B.K.Cahill, S. P. Elias, C. Lubelczyk, G.A.Beckett and R.P. Smith, Jr.: Passive Surveillance in Maine, an Area Emergent for Tick-Borne Diseases. J. Med. Entomol. 44(6): 11118-1129 (2007)
This paper summarizes data from 18 continuous years of tick sumissions within the State of Maine.
Hinten, S. R., G. A. Beckett, K. F. Gensheimer, E. Pritchard, T. M. Courtney, S. D. Sears, J. M. Woytowicz, D. G. Preston, R. P. Smith, Jr., P. W. Rand, E. H. Lacombe, M. S. Holman, C. B. Lubelczyk, P. Tassler Kelso, A. P. Beelen, M. G. Stobierski, M. J. Sotir, S. Wong, G. Ebel, O. Kosoy, J. Piesman, G. L. Campbell, and A. A. Marfin. 2008. Increased recognition of Powasan encephalitis in the United States, 1999-2005. Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases,8 (6):733-740.
Edillo, F., A. Kiszewski, J. Manjourides, M. Pagano, M. Hutchinson, A. Kyle, J. Arias, D. Gaines, R. Lampman, R. Novak, I. Foppa, C. Lubelczyk, R. Smith, A. Moncayo, A. Spielman, and the Culex pipiens Working Group. 2009. Am J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 81(5): 842-848.
Lubelczyk, C, B. K. Cahill, J. Turmel, E. Lacombe, P. W. Rand, S. P. Elias, and R. P. Smith, Jr. Tick (Acari:Ixodidae) infestation at two rural, seasonal camps in Maine and Vermont. 2010. J. Parasitology 96: 442-443.
Rand, P. W., E. H. Lacombe, S. P. Elias, C. B. Lubelczyk, T. St. Amand, and R. P. Smith, Jr. 2010. Trial of a minimal-risk botanical compound to control the vector tick of Lyme disease. J. Med. Entomol. 47: 695-698.
Rand, P. W., E. H. Lacombe, S. P. Elias, B. K. Cahill, C. B. Lubelczyk, and R. P. Smith, Jr., 2011. Multitarget test for emerging Lyme disease and anaplasmosis in a survey of dogs, Maine, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases 17:899-902.
Elias, S. P., R. P. Smith, Jr., S. R. Morris, P. W. Rand, and C. Lubelczyk. 2011. Density of Ixodes scapularis ticks on Monhegan Island after complete deer removal: A question of avian importation? Journal of Vector Ecology 36:11-23
Mathers A., R. P. Smith, Jr., B. Cahill, C. Lubelczyk, S. P. Elias, E. Lacombe, S. R. Morris, C. P. Vary, C. E. Parent, and P. W. Rand. 2011. Strain diversity of Borrelia burgdorferi in ticks dispersed in North America by migratory birds. Journal of Vector Ecology 36: 24-29.
Gibney, K. B., S. Robinson, J-P Mutebi, D. E. Hoenig, B. J. Bernier, L. Webber, C. Lubelczyk, R. J. Nett, and M. Fischer. 2011. Eastern Equine Encephalitis: an emerging arboviral disease threat, Maine, 2009. Vector-borne and Zoonotic Disease 11: 637-639.
Mutebi, J-P, C. Lubelczyk, R. Eisen, N. Panella, K. MacMillan, M. Godsey, B. Swope, G. Young, R. P. Smith, Jr., L. Kantar, S. Robinson, and S. Sears. 2011. Using wild, white-tailed deer to detect equine Eastern encephalitis virus activity in Maine. Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases.
MacQueen D.M., Lubelczyk C., Elias S., Cahill B., Mathers A., Lacombe E.H., Rand P.W., Smith R.P. Jr. 2012. Genotypic Diversity of an emergent population of Borrelia burgdorferi at a coastal island recently colonized by Ixodes scapularis. Journal of Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, in press.
Smith RP. 2011. The vectors of Lyme disease (Chapter 1). In Lyme Disease: An Evidence Based Approach. (J. Halperin, ed.); CABI Press, Oxford.
Lubelczyk, C, J-P. Mutebi, S. Robinson, S.P. Elias, L.B. Smith, S. Juris, K. Foss, A. Lichtenwalner, K.J. Shively, D.E. Hoenig, L. Webber, S. Sears, and R.P. Smith, Jr. An epizootic of eastern equine encephalitis virus, Maine, U.S.A. in 2009: Outbreak description and entomological studies. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. (In Press).
Angel TE, Jacobs JM, Smith RP, Pasternack MS, Elias S, Gritsenko MA, Shukla A, Gilmore EC, McCarthy C, Camp DG 2nd, Smith RD, Warren HS. Cerebrospinal fluid proteome of patients with acute Lyme disease. J. Proteome Res. 2012 Aug 31. [Epub ahead of print]
Peter Rand, MD
Vector-borne Disease Laboratory
Maine Medical Center Research Institute
75 John Roberts Rd., Suite 9B
South Portland, ME 04106