Tick-Borne Diseases Network (TickNET)
In the United States, there are ten recognized tick-associated human illnesses: Lyme disease (LD), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME), tularemia, Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF), Colorado tick fever, Powassan encephalitis, and babesiosis. These tick-borne diseases (TBDs) account for the majority of vector-borne infections reported in the United States . Each year approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC, ranking it among the ten most common infectious diseases in the nation. Several TBDs can cause severe morbidity and even death.
National reporting for TBDs varies by state, and monitoring TBDs has been limited somewhat by diverse epidemiologic, laboratory, and clinical issues. Changes in reporting requirements over time and in various states result in an inability to evaluate changes in TBD incidence temporally (especially for Lyme disease). Little is known about standard laboratory practices related to some of the TBDs, including types of assays used, diagnostic criteria, and testing volume.
TickNet is a network created in 2007 to foster collaboration on surveillance, research, education, and prevention for tickborne diseases. Collaborators include various divisions within CDC and key state and local health departments. CDC provides extramural funding to participating health departments and partners through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement, to sustain and enhance surveillance for Lyme disease, and through the Emerging Infections Program (EIP), to promote applied research.
The ultimate goals of TickNET are to foster greater collaboration among CDC programs working on tickborne diseases, to enhance and integrate surveillance for tickborne diseases in partnership with states, and to facilitate applied research projects that address key public health questions regarding tickborne diseases. Through these efforts, CDC aims to better understand the burden of tickborne diseases and to develop tools to control their increasing incidence.
Connecticut has collaborated with CDC and other TickNET sites in Maryland, Minnesota, and New York on various projects including:
Evaluating national and state-specific (CT, MD, MN, NY) laboratory testing practices for Lyme and other tickborne diseases. The CT EIP staff took the lead on developing and implementing the survey. Results for this project were published in 2014 and 2016.
Lyme and other Tickborne Diseases Prevention Study (LTDPS): This was a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled acaricide trial which took place in CT, MD, and NY in order to evaluate the efficacy of single springtime applications of acaricide on residential properties to prevent tickborne diseases. Results for this project were published in 2016.
Bait Box Intervention Study (BBI): The goal of this study was to investigate whether tickborne diseases can be prevented with the use of commercially available, SELECT TCS Tick Control System bait boxes, a rodent-targeted method of tick control. Results for this project were published in 2021.
Cost of Lyme Disease Study (COLD): This was a prospective, descriptive, cost of illness study related to Lyme disease. The CT EIP worked with the EIPs of MD, MN, and NY to assess the total societal and individual level costs of Lyme disease. Data collection has been completed for this study and the results are expected soon.
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Study (KAB): The goal of this study was to evaluate knowledge of tickborne diseases and risk perception, along with knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding tick bite and tickborne disease prevention among persons living in selected areas of CT and MD. This study was conducted along with CDC and the Maryland EIP site. Results for this project were published in 2019.
Lyme Disease Vaccine Acceptability Survey: The primary objective of this survey was to determine the proportion of people in Connecticut who would be vaccinated with a Lyme disease vaccine if one were available. Secondarily, the goal was to characterize the motivations for, and barriers against, getting a Lyme disease vaccine. Data collection has been completed for this survey and the results are expected soon.
4-Poster Acceptability Survey: The goal of this survey was to evaluate the acceptability of 4-Poster Deer Treatment Devices as a community-wide method for reducing ticks important to human health in Connecticut. Data collection has been completed for this survey and the results are expected soon.
Program ManagerSara Niesobecki, MPH, MS
Program Manager, TickNET
Connecticut Emerging Infections Program
One Church Street, 7th floor
New Haven, CT 06510