Background Reducing exposure to ticks is currently the most effective method of prevention of Lyme borreliosis, which appears to pose a new public health problem in heavily urbanised areas. The analysis of contacts between the routes that people adopt in forests (where ticks live) and the spaces and environments considered to be of risk (the most suitable habitat for ticks) constitutes a privileged avenue of study. There is a need to study these spatial dynamics, as well as to study ways in which it is possible to minimise risk via the landscape and design.
Methods Two databases were created, one related to ticks that can transmit the infection and the other to trajectories of forest users. The first was fed by samples collected in the Sénart forest (France) and the second gathered descriptive data on volume and characteristics of human flow through the forest area.
Results All the data have been entered into a GIS database. A characterisation of the busiest portions of routes in relation to data on tick populations densities and distribution (and, in fact, a characterisation of individual vulnerabilities on the type of socio-demographic profile associated with these portions) has then been conducted and has enable us to model human exposure to ticks according to the locations visited by users.
Conclusions Various actions related to forest management will be discussed with the forest officers such as, for example, the relocation or closure of some trails, or the changing of points of attractions for users in the forest.
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