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Assessing the potential risk of, and possible responses to, zoonotic diseases on the development of recreational use of

  • Start date: 01 September 2007
  • End date: 30 November 2010

Many people take pleasure from activities in forests and wild lands in the United Kingdom and others are being encouraged to participate. Unfortunately, there are risks and one of the most insidious is the possibility (albeit tiny) of acquiring a disease from wild animals. For example, ticks can be vectors of the bacterial infection leading to Lyme Disease. Both diagnosis and treatment can be problematic so prevention of acquiring such disease is highly desirable.

Surprisingly little is known about how best to warn countryside users about the potential for disease without scaring them away or spoiling their enjoyment. Answering such questions is the goal of this project, and requires the integration of diverse scientific skills, and an understanding of the views of those who manage countryside, those who have contracted zoonotic diseases and those who access the land.

This project will help those involved in the countryside to better understand how to deal with diseases such as Lyme Disease, how to effectively communicate the degree of risk, and how to encourage preventative action such that the countryside continues to be a source of pleasure and well-being for its users.