Application “Klíšťapka” – for forecasting the activity of ticks and Lyme disease infection in the Czech Republic forests
A new tool for obtaining information in the framework of prevention against the ever-increasing number of ticks and possible diseases that these parasites transmit, this is provided by a new mobile application called “Klíšťapka”. This application provides information on the occurrence of ticks in forest stands according to the data of the Forest Management Institute Brandýs nad Labem in the Czech Republic and the related risk of infection with Lyme borreliosis.
The application aptly called „Klíšťapka“ was developed by scientists from the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (FLD ČZU) in cooperation with Czech State Forest (LČR), the State Institute of Health, the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, the Czech Forestry Society (CFS) and the Forestry and Game Management Research Institute.
As stated by the head of the scientific team and the main investigator of the project Ing. Zdeněk Vacek, Ph.D. from FLD ČZU, „the application is based on the analysis of 28,276 ticks caught in forests throughout the Czech Republic in 2021 and 2022 and includes data on the species composition of the stand, site conditions, dynamics of ticks throughout the year and weather. Due to the large volume of data, only forest stands with the occurrence of ticks in the given location according to the “ÚHÚL ČR”, there are displayed in this application”.
“In addition to data on the current activity of ticks in forest stands, the application also provides new information on the infection of ticks with Lyme borreliosis in the given location. This prediction is based on testing of captured ticks at the National Reference Laboratory for Lyme Disease of the State Institute of Health. In the coming years, we will work to expand the data to include other tick-borne infections, as well as to analyze ticks from city parks. Therefore, we can promise that “Klíšťapka” will continue to be developed and enrich itself in cooperation with ČZU as part of other projects such as “Ticks in the city“, said project co-researcher RNDr. Kateřina Kybicová, Ph.D. from the State Health Institute.
The main goal of the project was to process and interpret data from previous research for the public, and create an ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) tool for common use that will predict the number of ticks and the possibility of infection with Lyme disease, based on the classification of forest stands, site conditions, climate data and other information, with the use of mathematical models and statistical survey results.
“It is interesting that the mathematical model on which the application is built also takes into account the structure of the landscape in the immediate vicinity of the investigated locations. The mosaic nature of the landscape and the number of marginal communities play a fundamental role in the occurrence of important tick hosts (e.g. small rodents), which affects the overall number of ticks and thus the risk of infection,” said co-investigator of the project doc. RNDr. Tomáš Václavík, Ph.D. from the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc.
Therefore, the project is a Citizen Science application – science for the public. The application also includes an informational “Wiki” component focused on practical measures against the spread of ticks and the zoonoses they carry. Overall, it contains a lot of useful information about types of ticks, myths about ticks, first aid and, of course, prevention. Users will thus have all information about this issue in a comprehensive overview.
This new application, created with the support of the Grant Service of the Czech State Forest (LČR), is freely available to all users of mobile devices with Android system and it can be downloaded from Google Play.
“The Czech State Forest (LČR) have been supporting research and innovative projects focused on operational topics and the needs of forestry, water management and game practice through their Grant Service for many years. They finance them and make the outputs available to the public. The mobile application “Klíšťapka”, thanks to which the public gets information about the occurrence of ticks in the territory of the Czech Republic, is one of the current examples. So I thank the entire scientific team for developing the application, and especially for putting it into practice,” said the administrative director of the Czech State Forest (LČR) Ing. Zbyněk Šmída, Ph.D.
You can find more information about the “Klíšťapka” application here: https://klistapka.czu.cz