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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Update

Air Date: Week of June 2, 2000

Diane Toomey reports on research which has found that biodiversity can reduce the spread of Lyme disease.

Transcript

TOOMEY: Biodiversity isn't just good for the planet. It may also keep people healthier. Researchers have found that in regions with diverse wildlife populations, ticks are less likely to carry Lyme Disease. To understand why, you have to know how a tick gets the bacterial infection. When they're in the larval stage, ticks feed off the blood of small animals who may transmit Lyme Disease to the tick. And the prize for the most likely to infect a tick goes to the white-footed mouse. In areas of poor biodiversity, this rodent flourishes, thanks to a lack of both predators and competitors. The researchers from the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, say this is the first report to show that biodiversity may reduce the risk of disease in people. Their work was published in the journal "Conservation Biology." That's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.

 

 

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