Using citizen science to improve the knowledge of tick distribution in Scotland

Rita Ribeiro*, JI Eze, Lucy Gilbert, GJ Gunn, Alastair Macrae, Andrew Duncan, A Reeves, HK Auty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Information about the rates at which people encounter ticks in the environment would be valuable in helping to understand how to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases, but these data are rarely collected. Citizen science, the term used to describe a wide range of activities in which citizens participate actively in a scientific project, could provide a valuable way of improving data collection on tick bite risk. The objective of this study is to develop and conduct a citizen science study to estimate the rate of human-tick encounters, map human-tick encounter rates and compare the results with tick abundance estimates from surveys counting ticks in the environment.

A website was developed to allow volunteers to report the number of ticks crawling and/or tick bites they find on themselves following outdoor activities. The brief web questionnaire also documents the distance and time spent during the activity and other factors such as activity type. Volunteers were encouraged to report activities routinely, rather than only when ticks were observed. Organisations such as outdoor centres were engaged to improve routine reporting. Tick abundance surveys are being undertaken in target areas.

The website was launched in June 2018 and currently many volunteers are collecting data. Preliminary results on uptake and tick encounter rates will be presented.

The results of this project will help to provide better and more up to date information on tick-human encounters, and how they vary with different geographical areas, habitats and times of year.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPrint publication - 3 Dec 2018
EventVECTOR-BORNE DISEASES IN THE UK (VBD2018) - Norwich, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Dec 20184 Dec 2018


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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