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Maura Bennett Citizen Scientists Help Tick Research Pt 1
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: July 26, 2018

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Ecologists at Colorado State University and Northern Arizona University have enlisted citizen scientist to get better insight into people’s and animals’ potential exposure to tick-borne diseases.

One of the study’s lead authors Daniel Salkeld, a research scientist in CSU’s Department of Biology says people were asked to send in ticks that had bitten a human or animal. The study goes beyond just the disease reporting and tracking that only occur when people get sick.

He says their data shows when people or animals got bitten, and where, and what they got exposed to.”

“And it’s just that gap between public health surveillance which might look for ticks in natural areas and collect them and look for which diseases they might be carrying and then at the other end you have people reporting sick with Lyme disease or other diseases and CDC records that kind of data but this is the gap between when do ticks actually bite people and not necessarily give them diseases.”

Salkeld led the study with Nathan Nieto of Northern Arizona University.

The researchers found 83 counties, in 24 states, where ticks carrying disease-causing bacteria had never been documented. The scientists’ original goal was to collect about 2,000 ticks, most from the San Francisco Bay Area. They collected 16, 000 nationwide underscoring the public’s intense interest in better understanding tick diseases. The growing importance of citizen scientists is the subject of another report.

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