Commentary: Misleading Stat-is-tick

Just when a number of areas across the country are reporting higher incidences of Lyme disease (LD),  Thomas Mather, a researcher with the University of Rhode Island, reported that ticks infected with LD are down 30% this year.  He also stated that this SHOULD translate to 20 to 25% less Lyme cases. 

I guess one of two things happened this past tick breeding season:

  1. All of the infected ticks died off such that the remaining infected tick population was reduced by 30%; or
  2. A large number of new ticks surfaced without LD to bring the tick population 30% lower.


Frankly, I find even the suggestion of this to be ludicrous and irresponsible.  It gives the public a false sense of security and essentially puts people at a greater risk of being infected. 

Even the word “SHOULD” is a copout.  It provides the speaker a chance to back-peddle if his estimates are incorrect.  At the same time, those who let their guard down and contract Lyme become victims of his ill advice.

If I were to give Mr Mathers the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant that the new generation of ticks would be 30% less infected, there would still be generations of infected ticks out there.  Just like any other season.  The probability of contracting LD would essentially be the same.

Mr. Mather has since been awarded a grant for $1.3 million to study tick bite prevention.  Will he be using this money to pay your medical bills?

Once again a budding professional is willing to sacrifice others for their own personal gain.  Is anyone really surprised?

Don’t be a victim of ambition.  And don’t let your guard down.


For the original article:

~ by Rob on July 5, 2010.

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