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Hot, dry summer bringing fewer cases of Lyme disease

New England’s hot summer might be helping keep the ticks that carry Lyme disease at bay.

The states are still totaling the number of Lyme cases from the summer months, and there will likely be more in the fall. But preliminary indicators show the disease abating, and public health authorities say they are finding fewer deer ticks in the environment.

Maine had shown a steady increase in Lyme cases, including a jump of 23 percent to more than 1,850 last year. But the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says Lyme cases for May, June and July were below long-term averages.

Scientists who study ticks say the arachnids have more difficulty surviving in hot and dry weather. Communities from Connecticut to Vermont are reporting fewer ticks.