Fighting Ticks With a Tap of the Phone

00:00 [MUSIC PLAYING]
00:11 It's called The Tick App, and that's
00:12 how you can find it in any app stores for free.
00:15 One of things that we're doing with the app
00:17 is collecting information.
00:19 We ask them about tick encounters
00:21 if they found a tick on themselves,
00:23 and we ask them if they use any protective measures.
00:26 The app is easy.
00:27 It's on your phone.
00:28 It's so easy to use.
00:29 It reinforces the precautions and the things
00:32 that you should be thinking about.
00:34 Tick-borne diseases also have been increasing
00:36 in more urbanized areas.
00:37 So we've become real interested in understanding
00:40 how the animals are bringing the ticks into the city
00:43 and how are people encountering them.
00:45 Someone finds a tick on themselves.
00:47 They can report it to us, and they can take a picture of it,
00:50 and we can identify it for them.
00:52 And there's also a lot of information
00:54 on how to remove the tick and then how to prevent them
00:57 in the first place.
00:58 It's going to help Columbia University.
01:00 It's going to help you, and it's going to train you
01:04 on steps that you could take.
01:05 Which of these can you identify as a tick?
01:09 So I would say there's three of them that are ticks.
01:14 So we chose this location for our research
01:17 because it provides an opportunity
01:18 to really study how animals are bringing
01:21 the ticks into the city.
01:22 We're studying deer, how they move through the city
01:25 and deposit ticks.
01:26 And other animals are infecting these ticks
01:28 with the pathogen that can cause Lyme disease.
01:31 Columbia University, they're in Manhattan.
01:33 They're so far.
01:34 We're in the farthest part of New York City
01:36 away from Manhattan, and yet we're benefiting from the study
01:42 that Columbia University is doing.
01:44 Tick-borne diseases have been increasing.
01:46 There are currently estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme disease
01:50 a year in the US.
01:51 We tend to think that this city is a protected
01:54 place, unfortunately, because of the lack of nature,
01:57 but that's changing.
01:58 We welcome nature in the city, and places like Staten Island,
02:00 for example, has beautiful forests,
02:02 but that can also bring in the host, the animals,
02:05 and the ticks that can bring these diseases.
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You can now track when and how you are exposed to ticks – and get expert advice – via a free app on your smartphone. Researchers developed the tool to combat Lyme disease, which is increasing across the country, including in cities. Through photos and data, the app helps scientists learn more about tick activity to identify areas of high tick risk and help prevent exposure.