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Are Orienteers Protected Enough against Tick Bites? Estimating Human Exposure to Tick Bites through a Participative Science Survey during an Orienteering Competition

Abstract : Mass-participation events in temperate forests are now well-established features of outdoor activities and represent high-risk activities regarding human exposition to tick bites. In this study we used a citizen science approach to quantify the space–time frequency of tick bites and undetected tick bites among orienteers that participated in a 6-day orienteering competition that took place in July 2018 in the forests of Eastern France, and we looked at the use and efficacy of different preventive behaviors. Our study confirms that orienteers are a high-risk population for tick bites, with 62.4% of orienteers bitten at least once during the competition, and 2.4 to 12.1 orienteers per 100 orienteers were bitten by ticks when walking 1 km. In addition, 16.7% of orienteers bitten by ticks had engorged ticks, meaning that they did not detect and remove their ticks immediately after the run. Further, only 8.5% of orienteers systematically used a repellent, and the use of repellent only partially reduced the probability of being bitten by ticks. These results represent the first attempt to quantify the risk of not immediately detecting a tick bite and provide rare quantitative data on the frequency of tick bites for orienteers according to walking distance and time spent in the forest. The results also provide information on the use of repellent, which will be very helpful for modeling risk assessment. The study also shows that prevention should be increased for orienteers in France.
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https://hal-anses.archives-ouvertes.fr/anses-03292350
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 12:23:27 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 3:17:05 PM

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Jonas Durand, Laure Bournez, Julien Marchand, Claire Schmid, Irene Carravieri, et al.. Are Orienteers Protected Enough against Tick Bites? Estimating Human Exposure to Tick Bites through a Participative Science Survey during an Orienteering Competition. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 2021, 18 (6), pp.3161. ⟨10.3390/ijerph18063161⟩. ⟨anses-03292350⟩

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