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Active Surveillance of ticks in peri-domestic areas of Indiana, Midwest United States

1 Department of Health and Wellness Design, Indiana University School of Public Health, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Correspondence Address:
Oghenekaro Omodior,
Department of Health and Wellness Design, Indiana University School of Public Health, Bloomington Indiana. 47405
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.316271

Background & objectives: The incidence of Borreliosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and other tick-borne diseases acquired from private residential/peri-domestic areas has increased over the decades. However, tick activity and proportion of private residential properties with established tick populations remain unknown. The purpose of the current study was to determine the predictors of tick activity in peri-domestic areas. Methods: In a cross-sectional study design, we used snowball-sampling with cold-calling techniques to collect free-living ticks, sociodemographic, and microclimatic data from June to November 2018 from a total of 96 private residential areas in south-central Indiana, USA. Results: Thirty-eight percent of peri-domestic areas sampled had tick activity, and of these, 50% had established tick populations. Nymphal ticks were the most abundant life stage. Self-reported TBD diagnosis was 16%. Amblyomma americanum [Linnaeus (lone star tick)] was the most abundant tick species collected. Other tick species identified include: Ixodes scapularis [Say (black-legged/deer tick)] and Dermacentor variabilis [Say (American dog tick)]. Increasing temperature was positively associated with tick activity, while elevation was negatively associated with tick abundance. Interpretation & conclusion: Our study results reveal that the proportion of peri-domestic areas in Indiana with established tick populations is high. Amblyomma americanum tick is the most predominant tick species in peri-domestic areas of south-central Indiana. Active surveillance of ticks in peri-domestic areas is necessary for informing decisions by households and communities about where to target tick exposure and tick-borne disease prevention efforts.

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