I-TICK, Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration networK, is a passive surveillance program to gather information about ticks of public health concern in Illinois. The purpose is to develop a network of volunteers whose work or leisure take them outdoors, and are likely to encounter ticks, to take part in data and tick collection. Volunteers submit ticks and location data to the UIUC for mapping and analysis.
Who can participate?
Anyone whose work or hobbies take them outdoors anywhere in Illinois.
When does it occur?
Any 5 days between April 1 and December 31. It is best, but not necessary, if the 5 collection days are within a 2-week period, but the 5 days do not need to be consecutive. People are welcome to participate for more than one 5-day period.
Where does it occur?
Anywhere outdoors in Illinois where a person works, travels, or relaxes: hiking in natural areas, recreation in a city park, working, walking their dog, etc.
Why would I want to take part and why is it important?
Ticks can carry a number of diseases that affect people and other animals in Illinois. The data and ticks collected help identify where and when a tick species comes in contact with people, pets, and livestock. These data then allow us to focus surveillance methods to determine the risk of disease.
How do I participate?
Anyone is welcome to participate, either as an individual, or as an I-Tick Hub. (Hubs collect completed kits and forward them to the UIUC). Pick 5 days when you will be going outdoors, ideally within a 2-week period, to designate as tick collection days. Each day, you do not need to do anything differently. IF you find any ticks, place them in a vial. If you do NOT find any ticks, record that day as “no ticks”.
At the end of the day, record where you were outdoors that day. It is especially important that you record the county or counties where you traveled and where (if) you found a tick. If you traveled to multiple counties and are not sure in which county a tick was found, please provide your best guess. There is no cost other than the time required to put the tick(s) in a vial and record a few critical pieces of information. Everything needed to collect data and ticks is provided, as well as safety tips.
If interested, please find a hub near you where you can pick up a “tick kit”. The following link contains a map and a link to addresses and contact information for existing hubs https://vetmed.illinois.edu/gissa/services-and-outreach/i-tick/. If you need more assistance finding a hub, please contact Peg Gronemeyer at email@example.com.
Source: Phillip Alberti, Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture, firstname.lastname@example.org