Scientists have built a large body of knowledge about Lyme disease over the past 40 years, yet controversies remain and the number of cases continues to rise.

Black-legged tick
Ixodes scapularis, a Black-legged tick/CDC

In the United States, reported cases of Lyme disease, which is transmitted from wild animals to humans by tick bites, have tripled in the past 20 years.

A multitude of interacting factors are driving the increase in Lyme disease cases, but their relative importance remains unclear, according to Marm Kilpatrick, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. Nevertheless, he noted that there are a number of promising strategies for controlling the disease that have not been widely implemented.

Kilpatrick is lead author of a paper published April 24 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that examines the complex array of factors influencing the prevalence of Lyme disease and identifies the major gaps in understanding that must be filled to control this important disease.

Read more at UC Santa Cruz