Oxford Tick Research Group (OTRG)

Towards understanding how interaction between ticks, hosts, humans and pathogens determine disease transmission dynamics . . .

Introduction

Ticks transmit a large number and variety of disease-causing agents to humans and other animals. They are second only to mosquitoes in medical importance as disease vectors, and they are a major constraint on the improvement of livestock quality in developing countries.

Over the past two decades, the Oxford Tick Research Group (OTRG) has followed a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the diverse, but specific, interactions between ticks, hosts and pathogens.

Effective and sustainable use of any traditional or novel control strategy depends on predictive explanations for the spatial and temporal variation in the risk of tick-borne diseases. This is influenced by the impact of climate and biotic factors on tick-host interactions that determines the distribution, abundance and seasonal dynamics of ticks.

Recent advances in understanding the dynamic epidemiology of tick-borne diseases have come from analysing human factors that determine people’s exposure to the risk of infected ticks. These include outdoor activities related to socio-economic conditions and responses to perceived risk.