Using spatial modelling techniques to produce maps of Lyme risk and vector distributions

Lyme borreliose (LB) is a growing health threat. Globally, the disease can be found in at least 80 countries, making it an issue of worldwide significance. If it is not diagnosed and treated promptly, LB can lead to a serious chronic, debilitating disease. LB is caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by ticks. Over the last ten years the number of cases reported in Scotland has increased more than ten-fold. Currently there is little accurate information available about the epidemiology of the disease and locations of “hot spots” of transmission, making it difficult for people to know how to reduce their risk of infection. LymeMAP is an LB identification, mapping and risk management system that includes risk maps, advice and information, incorporated within a smartphone app and web portal. This health information and management tool responds to the needs of health care professionals, outdoor workers, resident populations and tourists by providing stakeholders with a better understanding of the factors affecting tick distribution and LB risk, as well as providing information about appropriate action to take when bitten by a tick. LymeMAP combines data (including EO satellite data, GPS data, Lyme data from Scottish National Lyme Borreliosis Testing Lab, data from General Practitioners, and from end-users) using spatial modelling techniques to produce maps of Lyme risk and vector distributions. Users are also able to report locations of ticks and bites to the central database.

Feasibility Study
Antje Vogel
NHS Highland Research, Development and Innovation, Centre for Health Science