PMCID: PMC5872229
PMID: 29498648

Citizen Science and Community Engagement in Tick Surveillance—A Canadian Case Study


Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in North America and Europe, and on-going surveillance is required to monitor the spread of the tick vectors as their populations expand under the influence of climate change. Active surveillance involves teams of researchers collecting ticks from field locations with the potential to be sites of establishing tick populations. This process is labor- and time-intensive, limiting the number of sites monitored and the frequency of monitoring. Citizen science initiatives are ideally suited to address this logistical problem and generate high-density and complex data from sites of community importance. In 2014, the same region was monitored by academic researchers, public health workers, and citizen scientists, allowing a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of each type of surveillance effort. Four community members persisted with tick collections over several years, collectively recovering several hundred ticks. Although deviations from standard surveillance protocols and the choice of tick surveillance sites makes the incorporation of community-generated data into conventional surveillance analyses more complex, this citizen science data remains useful in providing high-density longitudinal tick surveillance of a small area in which detailed ecological observations can be made. Most importantly, partnership between community members and researchers has proven a powerful tool in educating communities about of the risk of tick-vectored diseases and in encouraging tick bite prevention.



Please know that according to an independent Canadian tick expert John Scott, climate change has nothing to do with the spread of ticks and the pathogens they carry:  “The climate change range expansion model is what the authorities have been using to rationalize how they have done nothing for more than thirty years. It’s a huge cover-up scheme that goes back to the 1980’s. The grandiose scheme was a nefarious plot to let doctors off the hook from having to deal with this debilitating disease. I caught onto it very quickly. Most people have been victims of it ever since.”
“This climate change ‘theory’ is all part of a well-planned scheme. Even the ticks are smarter than the people who’ve concocted this thing,” he says.
“Climate change has nothing to do with tick movement. Blacklegged ticks are ecoadaptive, and tolerate wide temperature fluctuations. On hot summer days, these ticks descend into the cool, moist leaf litter and rehydrate. In winter, they descend into the leaf litter, and are comfortable under an insulating blanket of snow.Ticks have antifreeze-like compounds in their bodies, and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. For instance, at Kenora, Ontario, the air temperature peaks at 36°C and dips to –44°C, and blacklegged ticks survive successfully.
“Ticks are marvellous eco-adaptors. They will be the last species on the planet. Do you see how silly this theory of climate change is as a way to rationalize what’s happening. It’s all a red herring to divert your attention,” he explains. “In simple terms, the feds have diverted our attention by saying ‘let’s worry about ticks and climate change, put all our funding there and we will solve the problem of Lyme disease’.”

Similarly to the latest fashion trends from Paris driving fashion across the world, the phrase “climate change,” is the latest angle in Science to obtain grants that is driving research.  

This research is not helping patients in the least.  How research is being manipulated to fit industry agendas. Exactly how this manipulation occurs.