SURVEY: Researchers study impact of COVID-19 on exposure to tick-borne illnesses

Getting a tick can be easily prevented by wearing protective clothing.
Getting a tick can be easily prevented by wearing protective clothing.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 3:29 PM EDT
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Two Hollins University professors are collaborating with scientists from four other universities to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the time people spend outdoors, and if that change could result in increased exposure to ticks or tick-borne diseases.

Elizabeth Gleim, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, and Meg du Bray, a visiting assistant professor in environmental studies at Augustana College who will be joining the Hollins faculty this fall as an assistant professor of environmental studies, are working with researchers from the University of Georgia, Duke University, Clemson University, and the University of Rhode Island on a new study entitled “Investigating COVID-19 Impacts on the Epidemiology of Tick-Borne Diseases in People and Pets.”

"We’re examining whether people are spending more time outside due to COVID-19 restrictions and whether this might be affecting them, their families, and/or their pets’ (if they have any) risk of contracting a tick-borne illness,” Gleim said.

Gleim and her fellow researchers are inviting any person 18 years or older who lives in the United States or Canada to fill out

that “should only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time,” she noted, “or less if you do not have children and/or dogs.”

The research team is hoping to have as many people as possible participate in the study.

“We encourage everyone to please share the survey with any individuals or groups that you think would be willing to complete it,” Gleim said.

You can find the survey