Hollins Researchers Partner With Other Universities To Study Impact Of COVID-19 On Tick-Borne Illnesses

Beware of Ticks Sign

Two Hollins professors are collaborating with scientists from four other universities to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the time people spend outdoors and if that change could result in increased exposure to ticks or tick-borne diseases.

Elizabeth Gleim
Elizabeth Gleim (Photo Credit: Nancy Evelyn)

Elizabeth Gleim, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, and Meg du Bray, a visiting assistant professor in environmental studies at Augustana College who will be joining the Hollins faculty this fall as an assistant professor of environmental studies, are working with researchers from the University of Georgia, Duke University, Clemson University, and the University of Rhode Island on a new study entitled, “Investigating COVID-19 Impacts on the Epidemiology of Tick-Borne Diseases in People and Pets.”

“We’re examining whether people are spending more time outside due to COVID-19 restrictions and whether this might be affecting them, their families, and/or their pets’ (if they have any) risk of contracting a tick-borne illness,” Gleim explains.

Gleim and her fellow researchers are inviting any person 18 years or older who resides in the United States or Canada to fill out a short survey that “should only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time,” she notes, “or less if you do not have children and/or dogs.”

The research team is hoping to have as many people as possible participate in the study. “We encourage everyone to please share the survey with any individuals or groups that you think would be willing to complete it,” Gleim says.