Relationship Between Tick Activity, Tick-Borne Diseases, Cognitive and Affective Risk Assessment in Peri-domestic Areas

Abstract

Peri-domestic areas constitute an important source of tick exposure and tick-borne diseases (TBD). Nonetheless, the association between distal TBD risk factors (i.e. cognitive-/affective-risk perceptions, knowledge of the effectiveness of personal protective behaviors) and proximal TBD risk (i.e. tick activity and TBD diagnosis), among adult residents of private residential properties (PRP) is unknown. Data was collected from 299 PRP in south and central Indiana. We used Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis non-parametric tests to identify differences in proximal and distal outcome measures. We found evidence of ‘tick activity’ at thirty-nine percent of PRP (n = 116). Thirteen-percent of respondents (n = 40) self-reported a TBD diagnosis within their household. We found no significant association between ‘self-reported TBD diagnosis within a household’ and ‘tick activity in the peri-domestic area.’ Mean scores on ‘affective tick & TBD risk assessment’ were significantly higher among respondents when ‘tick activity’ was present in the peri-domestic area (median = 2, M = 2.54, p < 0.001). Similarly, respondents who ‘self-reported TBD diagnosis within their household’ had significantly higher mean scores on ‘affective tick & TBD risk assessment’ (median = 3, M = 3.30) than those who did not (median = 1, M = 1.93), (U = 2750, p < 0.001). The proportion of peri-domestic areas with ‘tick activity’ was significantly higher if the primary respondent was male or an older adult respectively, compared to females and younger adults. Occupational/recreation-based settings may be more important pathways of tick exposure than peri-domestic settings in Indiana. Beyond education, it is important to consider the feelings and emotions that are elicited when at-risk populations consider their peri-domestic tick exposure and TBD risk, and where necessary design interventions to address those affective assessments.

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Correspondence to Oghenekaro Omodior.

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Omodior, O., Anderson, K. Relationship Between Tick Activity, Tick-Borne Diseases, Cognitive and Affective Risk Assessment in Peri-domestic Areas. J Community Health 46, 334–342 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00902-z

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Keywords

  • Peri-domestic area
  • Tick exposure
  • Tick-borne disease
  • Cognitive and affective risk assessment