Currently, the range of many tick species are expanding in North America due to climate change and human alteration of the natural environment. Therefore, there is an increasing need for improved tick surveillance tools. The Public Health Agency of Canada has recognized the need for additional tick monitoring and has provided new funding to expand Bishop’s University on line tick identification platform eTick.ca .Starting on April 15 tick photos submitted to eTick.ca from New Brunswick and Ontario will be identified and mapped ,in past this online tool was only funded to identify ticks found in Quebec.
Photos of ticks found on humans, animals or those located from the environment can be submitted to eTick.ca in 2019. The submission process takes under three minutes. Basically, you need to register, take a few photos of the tick, enter specimen information such as where and when the tick was collected and upload the photo to the website. A tick expert will analyse your photo and report the results back to the submitter.
The tick species and location where they were collected will be mapped and members of the public that visit eTick.ca will be able to view a real time tick-reporting map to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of different species of ticks in specific areas of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The submission of tick photos will also assist researchers as it allows them to track changes in the seasonally and location of tick populations and will assist in identifying new invasive species. It will also aid in identifying areas where field researchers may need to conduct active tick surveillance using such tools as scientific tick drags and carbon dioxide tick traps.
In 2019 , eTick.ca photo data will assist in monitoring tick population trends and tickborne disease risk across three provinces, hopefully this citizen science platform will expand to other provinces in future years. .