Calling the rise in tick-borne diseases a “critical national issue,” officials with The Entomological Society of America (ESA) recently released a statement supporting the creation and implementation of a national strategy to control tick populations.
“A recent confluence of environmental, ecological, sociological, and human demographic factors has created a near ‘perfect storm,’ leading to more ticks in more places,” ESA President Phil Mulder said in a press release. “Robust investment in training and research support for the existing and future generation of tick scientists is key to developing solutions that will relieve the escalating health and economic burdens caused by tick parasitism and tick-borne diseases in North America.”
The statement calls for policies and investments that strengthen tick research and research capabilities; foster education and training of professional entomologists as well as engagement of citizen-scientists; increase public awareness of tick-borne disease risk and prevention; and encourage dynamic partnerships between universities, industry, and government at all levels.
Specifically, the statement advocates for:
- Broad spectrum approaches, including the development and improvement of vaccines, repellents, attractants, and acaricides;
- Increased ecological surveillance and systems assessment, including tick surveys, evaluations of tick-borne disease (such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease) and management strategies, and actions to suppress tick encounter rates and prevent disease;
- Local- and national-scale outreach and extension that enhances citizens’ knowledge of effective tick control and tick-bite prevention strategies;
- The creation of public-private partnerships that speed the translation of tick-control technologies and inventions into consumer products;
- Greater promotion of and investment in the field of tick expertise at the college level;
- Increased investments in international partnerships that deal with high priority accidental and intentional tick-disease introductions.