James Cook University ISSN 1445-6354
Lyme Borreliosis, also known as Lyme disease, is the most common tick-borne disease in Northern Europe, with a particularly high human incidence in Scotland. In 2014 it was estimated that incidence of Lyme disease ranged from 1.7 to 44.1 per 100 000 of the Scottish population, with the greatest rate of such being in Highland. Anecdotal reports suggest actual incidence to be some five-to-ten times in excess of recorded figures. Existing risk mitigation efforts are limited in terms of information that is easily accessible and can be relied upon. As such, communities who are exposed to ticks, and potentially Lyme disease, express growing concern about the issue, and a desire for prevention approaches that are effective and can be trusted. Three phases of focus group style workshops were hosted in four locations across Highland. Participants were encouraged to share their insights and expertise, and to become involved in directing the project in an iterative process whereby each phase of workshops informed the next phase; involving the end-user in a design process. Findings from the study have been used in two ways: firstly to prototype design a smartphone application that uses citizen science data input, earth observation and terrestrial data to map ixodes ricinus ticks, and; secondly to create packages of awareness raising information tailored appropriately for the communities which participated in the study. The study was joint funded by the European Space Agency and The Robertson Trust.