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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Military veteran residential location and risk for Lyme disease

August, 2018
Article:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether high concentrations of military veterans live in areas where Lyme disease is hyper-endemic. To determine this, data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information were collected. The study found that Lyme disease incidence rates were higher in counties with greater veteran populations, even after adjusting for historically validated predictors of Lyme disease.

Abstract

Some research has shown that Lyme disease cases among U.S. military veterans have increased since the early 2000s. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether high concentrations of military veterans live in areas where Lyme disease is hyper-endemic. Lyme disease case-report data for 2015 were retrieved at the county-level from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Veteran population density at the county level was determined using data from the U.S. Census. County control variables, such as weather patterns, forestation, and socioeconomic conditions were retrieved from various sources. Multiple linear regression was used to examine associations between variables. After controlling for county-level environmental and social conditions, results showed that military veteran population density was positively associated with Lyme disease incidence rates. Military veterans, due to their choice of geographic residence and recreation, may be a population at risk for developing Lyme disease.

Full Reference

McDaniel, J. T., Middleton, W. K., Albright, D., Thomas, K. H., Fletcher, K., Black, E., & Ratnapradipa, D. (2018). Military veteran residential location and risk for Lyme disease. Journal of Veterans Studies, 3(2), 45–56. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.v3i2.61

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