Tick Talk & Tick Zones: A Climate Health Adaptation Project Targeting Lyme Disease Prevention
Sarah Warren and Ramien Sereshk
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
This presentation will illustrate the development, implementation, and evaluation of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) 2021 Climate-Health Adaptation Project, an evidence-informed health communication campaign targeting Lyme disease prevention. The campaign empowers adults living in or visiting Simcoe Muskoka to practice protective health behaviours that reduce tick bites and time-duration of tick attachment to prevent Lyme disease infection. The campaign consists of branded enhanced signage to increase awareness of ‘tick zones’ in areas where ticks may be present and provide context specific health protective behaviours, as well as an online eLearning video (also linked to the signage using a QR code) that educates people on full-body tick-checking techniques. The materials are available in English and French. The presentation will emphasize the identified need and rationale to strengthen public health prevention of Lyme disease in a changing climate in Simcoe Muskoka and beyond. It will also highlight how findings from a situational assessment, epidemiological data and health promotion theories/constructs informed the development of this project. Furthermore, the direction SMDHU took to address challenges in developing the campaign, including knowledge gaps in the literature and limited resource due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be communicated. The presentation will also present key findings from the process evaluation currently underway. Lastly, next steps for SMDHU and the wider Public Health community will be offered. By sharing our experience, we hope to inspire future climate-health adaptation and Lyme disease prevention initiatives, even when facing uncertainty.