Using volunteered observations to map human exposure to ticks

Irene Garcia-Marti (Corresponding Author), Raul Zurita-Milla, Margriet G. Harms, Arno Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
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Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in Europe and its incidence has steadily increased over the last two decades. In the Netherlands alone, more than 20,000 citizens are affected by LB each year. Because of this, two Dutch citizen science projects were started to monitor tick bites. Both projects have collected nearly 50,000 geo-located tick bite reports over the period 2006–2016. The number of tick bite reports per area unit is a proxy of tick bite risk. This risk can also be modelled as the result of the interaction of hazard (e.g. tick activity) and human exposure (e.g. outdoor recreational activities). Multiple studies have focused on quantifying tick hazard. However, quantifying human exposure is a harder task. In this work, we make a frst step to map human exposure to ticks by combining tick bite reports with a tick hazard model. Our results show human exposure to tick bites in all forested areas of the Netherlands. This information could facilitate the cooperation between public health specialists and forest managers to create better mitigation campaigns for tick-borne diseases, and it could also support the design of improved plans for ecosystem management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15435
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2018




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