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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349037

Research Project: Prevention of Arthropod Bites

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Tick bite risk and tick-borne disease perceptions of school district administrators in the Mid-Atlantic United States

Author
item Machtinger, Erika
item Li, Andrew
item Lui, Yifen - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: Journal of School Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Lyme disease is a common disease in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. The disease has been spreading across these regions for decades, and now is found commonly in the Mid-Atlantic states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. School aged children are an age group at high risk for Lyme disease. This is likely due to the amount of time children spend on outdoor activities. Many school campuses in the Mid-Atlantic are located in areas that are in close proximity to, or adjacent to, wooded habitat and are areas that might be at risk for harboring ticks. USDA ARS scientists conducted a survey to identify the perceptions of tick-bite risk held by school administrators in Mid-Atlantic school districts, and to what extent integrated tick management was used in these districts. Results indicate that school administrators had knowledge of Lyme disease, but knowledge of other tick-borne diseases was limited. Very few schools had any tick control in place in their district. Targeted communication of educational information regarding ticks and tick control to school districts could encourage increased participation in preventative behaviors. This study provides a framework for reducing tick-borne disease risk in Mid-Atlantic school districts.

Technical Abstract: Lyme disease is a common disease in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. School aged children are an age group at high risk for Lyme disease. Many school campuses in the Mid-Atlantic are located in areas that are in close proximity to, or adjacent to, wooded habitat and are areas that might be at risk for harboring ticks. To determine the status of tick risk and tick control on school campuses in the Mid-Atlantic, a survey was distributed to school administration in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The goals were to assess the knowledge of school district administrators and the perception of tick-bite risk and severity of tick-borne disease by school staff, to determine the sources school staff uses to obtain tick related information, and to identify current tick control methods used on school grounds. Responses from Pennsylvania and New Jersey indicate school district administrators had knowledge of Lyme disease, but knowledge of other tick-borne diseases was limited. Very few schools had any tick control in place in their district. Overall, the results suggest that targeted communication of educational information regarding ticks and tick control to school districts could encourage increased participation in preventative behaviors. This study provides a framework for reducing tick-borne disease risk in Mid-Atlantic school districts.