Tick data was collected by the Maine Medical Center’s Research Institute (MMCRI) and partners, including the Maine Forest Service and University of Maine.
State, Public Health District, County, Town
From 1989-2013, MMCRI’s Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory (in cooperation with the State of Maine) offered free tick identification to Maine residents and health providers. Deer ticks that were submitted to MMCRI, from human hosts, were analyzed by the town of reported exposure.
The dataset contains the following measure: number of deer tick submissions by town, during specified time periods.
This data set supports efforts to improve public health in Maine and contributes to the U.S. CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Network. A key activity of participants in this network is to track and make available environmental health measures on state and national data portals. Measures derived from the data set described here can be used to compare deer tick submissions across the state, and in relation to risk factors and health outcomes.
The Maine Tracking Network, a member of the National EPHT Network, connects communities, public health professionals, policy makers, state agencies, and others to the data they need to monitor public health, respond to health concerns, prioritize resources for public health action, and evaluate prevention activities. Maine tracks certain health effects, exposures, and environmental hazards that have known relationships, as well as some health effects and environmental hazards that have suspected relationships. By making health and environmental data available through the Maine Tracking Network, more people have access to data they need to think critically and hypothesize about health outcomes and their relationships to conditions in the environment.
Maine has fourteen species of ticks. Ixodes scapularis, commonly known as the blacklegged or deer tick, is of most concern because it carries known pathogens including Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Participation in the tick identification program was optional for residents and health providers, and outreach efforts to generate awareness of the program may have changed over time.
Lyme disease is endemic in Maine. Lyme disease cases are reported by place of residence, not the location where the deer tick was acquired. Therefore, deer tick exposure data can help illuminate the public health risk of Lyme disease, particularly in areas with small, or no, resident populations.
Entity and Attribute Overview:
The dataset includes the following fields: time period, town, and number of deer tick submissions.
- Data include deer ticks submitted to MMCRI from human hosts, and do not represent the total number or overall distribution of deer ticks in Maine.
- Deer ticks were not tested for Borrelia burgdorferi positivity; only Borrelia burgdorferi positive ticks are a risk for acquiring Lyme disease.
- The place of deer tick exposure was self-reported by the individual who acquired the tick.
- Data do not represent deer tick density, as they cannot be adjusted for differences in population size or geographic area.
- To find more general information on this topic, see the tickborne disease page of the Maine Tracking Network messaging portal.
- To find more detailed information about the measures, see the tabs labeled ‘Intro’ and ‘About the Data’ within the tickborne diseases content area of the Maine Tracking Network Data Portal. (Note that clicking this link will open a new session in the Data Portal.)
- To find more detailed information about the data source, see the MMCRI metadata.
- For specific definitions of terms and concepts see the Glossary.
- For more information on MMCRI’s Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory, see the MMCRI website.
Suggested Citation for Data Displays:
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Tracking Network. Tickborne Disease: Ticks. Available online: https://data.mainepublichealth.gov/tracking/. Accessed on [date accessed].