The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), through the Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund, has granted Bishop’s University’s Biology Professor Dr. Jade Savage $ 477,149 to expand the reach of the fully bilingual eTick.ca tick-monitoring platform beyond Quebec to Ontario and New Brunswick.
“The eTick.ca platform is a citizen science project that greatly expands capabilities for the geographical coverage of tick monitoring, in addition to directly providing a public health service to the general population in a timely manner,” explains Dr. Savage. “By providing a platform through which citizens can submit ticks they have found for identification, the eTick.ca platform allows the monitoring of tick distribution changes and real time mapping of the presence of various species of ticks on the territory covered, which will now include Ontario and New Brunswick in addition to Quebec.”
“The increase in the number of Lyme disease cases reported across several regions in Canada, including the Estrie region, is quite preoccupying. The grant of over 477 000$ from the Public Health Agency of Canada to Jane Savage, professor within the Biology Department at Bishop’s University, will allow for the extension of her eTick.ca platform and monitoring website to provinces neighboring Quebec,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead and Minister of International Development.
In Eastern Canada, only one species of ticks can transmit Lyme disease. Through the eTick.ca platform, members of the public can rely on expert identification within 24 hours of the type of tick they find, whether on animals or on humans, which allows them to know whether the tick they have found can transmit Lyme disease or not and to obtain information and advice specific to the species found. This identification is not meant to provide medical advice regarding Lyme disease infections for persons who have found a tick, but can inform members of the public of whether additional inquiries with health care professionals are warranted depending on the species of tick found.
Moreover, members of the public can consult the real time tick-reporting map to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of different species of ticks in specific regions and territories, to track yearly changes in tick population distribution and to better evaluate the risks associated with the presence of ticks able to transmit Lyme disease in a given area.
The eTick.ca platform began as a pilot project launched by Dr. Savage in 2014 in partnership with the Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec and the PHAC.
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