France Takes Different Approach to Stop Ticks

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France Takes Different Approach to Stop Ticks
France launched a smartphone application that will be used to track the plague of ticks that is taking over the country. The ticks are notorious for causing more than twenty thousand cases of Lyme disease each year. Concern has risen because they pose a threat to the thousands of holidaymakers from Britain who go to France. Experts said that these ticks were moving north to wetter and warmer climates. This has been linked to climate change. Lyme’s disease affects the nervous system. It could lead to paralysis, seizures, and death in severe cases if it is left untreated. Ticks transmit the diseases when they suck human blood.

Experts at the French Institute for Agricultural research launched an application to help curb the surge in the cases annually. Signalement TIQUES allows citizens to take photos of areas where the blood-suckers have bitten them. They can send photos of this to INRA for review once they do so. The application describes Lyme’s disease as a health issue and is calling for volunteers to take up roles in ongoing research. Foreign tourists also face risks. The app is only available in French at the moment. INRA stated that there were plans to release an English-version in the next few months.

A user can enter their location, the date, and specify whether the victim was a pet or a human. One can also input the number of bugs that were involved. The goal is to develop a tick map that can be traced to the whole country. The application encourages people to exchange knowledge in the spirit of collaborative science so that everyone could benefit. The researchers have also urged individuals who have been bitten to send in the bugs by post. This can be done by attaching them to sticky tape. This will assist the researchers to track the infestations in different areas.

Jean Cosson is the co-coordinator of the project. Jean said that they were seeking the help of the public because they did not have a large team of students to do this. He added that they wanted to know when and where people were bitten. A mathematical forecast model could be developed by checking the weather data and the habitat of the ticks. Ticks rarely attack during the winter because of the cold. Cosson warned that they could show up in mid-winter because of global warming.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/17/france-launches-tick-alert-ap...

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