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Emerg Infect Dis. 2017 Mar;23(3):463-467. doi: 10.3201/eid2303.161397.

Use of Mass-Participation Outdoor Events to Assess Human Exposure to Tickborne Pathogens.


Mapping the public health threat of tickborne pathogens requires quantification of not only the density of infected host-seeking ticks but also the rate of human exposure to these ticks. To efficiently sample a high number of persons in a short time, we used a mass-participation outdoor event. In June 2014, we sampled ≈500 persons competing in a 2-day mountain marathon run across predominantly tick-infested habitat in Scotland. From the number of tick bites recorded and prevalence of tick infection with Borrelia burgdoferi sensu lato and B. miyamotoi, we quantified the frequency of competitor exposure to the pathogens. Mass-participation outdoor events have the potential to serve as excellent windows for epidemiologic study of tickborne pathogens; their concerted use should improve spatial and temporal mapping of human exposure to infected ticks.


B. miyamotoi; Borrelia; Ixodes ricinus; Lyme borreliosis; bacteria; crowd sourcing; epidemiologic studies; public health; tickborne pathogens; ticks; vector-borne infections

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