Lyme Disease LD is an emerging epidemic in the Upper Midwest. Early identification of LD symptoms is paramount to effective medical treatment; knowledge of symptoms, how LD spreads, and getting immediate medical treatment is the best prevention. This NLM proposal introduces the Ixodes Outreach Project IOP. IOPs goal is to promote awareness of health concerns associated with LD and tick-borne diseases in northeast Minnesotas isolated Arrowhead region. This will be accomplished through educational activities, a citizen-science program, and an undergraduate research experience. Education outreach will target Native American and 95 populations and will include presentations at schools and environmental centers, development of LD brochures, information on MedlinePlus and the CDC tick-borne disease online reference. Workshops will be held to provide in-depth LD information; participants will be given Tick Kits and invited to be part of IOPs citizen-research program. Tick kits will contain a Tick Removal Key with the University of Minnesota Medical School UMMS and NLM logos, tick and LD information cards, collection tubes, and mailing envelopes for tick submission to the Principal Investigator PI. Citizen-science opportunities will involve community members collecting ticks for analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria causing LD. Using tick kits from workshops, participants will provide ticks gathered in daily outdoor activities thereby assisting in identifying areas where the tick, Ixodes scapularis, shown to carry Borrelia, comes in contact with humans. A web-based Tick Story Map will further promote LD awareness. This online resource will combine images, video, a series of maps, including a tick-borne disease risk map, and a database for LD and tick-borne disease research. Citizen-scientists may review and contribute to the database using an online application to submit information such as weather conditions, date, time of day, vegetation and geographic terrain, and the types of activity when Ixodes tick contact occurred. College students will learn about Ixodes and LD as they gain valuable experience participating in field collections tick drags, science enrichment activities to systematically survey for Borrelia-infected Ixodes, performing lab-based PCR analysis and presenting research poster presentations of their work.
University of Minnesota - Duluth