Tick-borne Disease Risk for Agricultural Workers and their Families in the Midwest

Project Description

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Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) are on the rise and are commonly reported in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tick bites through outdoor recreational activities are a well defined risk factor but only few studies have investigated the impact of TBD for outdoor occupations and optimal interventions for specific occupations. A new interdisciplinary research group is being created with experts from the University of Minnesota, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (MCRF), National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC), and Minnesota Department of Health with the long-term goal of advancing the knowledge of the ecology, epidemiology, and social determinants of TBD as well as identifying effective strategies for infection prevention and clinical case management.

The specific aims of this pilot study are:

  1. To characterize the eco-epidemiology of TBD cases in the Marshfield Clinic catchment area. A spatio-temporally explicit database of 14,000 TBD cases from 2000 through 2015 is available through MCRF which will be used to perform an analysis of ecological and socio- demographic drivers of disease,
  2. To assess TBD knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) among workers in occupations considered high risk in the upper Midwest. We will develop a KAP survey targeting workers from the U.S. Forest Service, WI and agriculture workers. Through a One Health approach, this project will provide the unique opportunity to investigate disease occurrence in a well- characterized population, obtain improved predictors of infection risk, and produce new data that can inform future new methods to measure exposure risk and adherence to recommendations.

Few studies have investigated the impact of tick-borne diseases for outdoor occupations and optimal interventions for specific occupations.


  • Walker R, Munoz-Zanzi C, Schotthoefer A. Characterizing the Epidemiology of Positive Lyme Confirmatory Tests in North-Central Wisconsin: 2000-2015. NORA Symposium. Minneapolis, MN. May 5, 2017.
  • Stinebaugh K, Schotthoefer A, Walker R, Munoz-Zanzi C. Tick-borne Disease Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Among U.S. Forest Services Workers. 2017 NORA Symposium. Minneapolis, MN. May 5, 2017.
  • Anna Schotthoefer. Tick Talk. Men’s Night Out. American Legion. Mauston, WI. October 4, 2018.

Project Personnel

Photo of Claudia Munoz-Zanzi DVM, MPVM, PhD

Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, DVM, MPVM, PhD

Associate Professor Environmental Health SciencesSchool of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Phone: 612-626-2849 Website: View Bio
Photo of Anna Schotthoefer PhD

Anna Schotthoefer, PhD

Project Scientist Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation
Phone: 715-387-5241
Photo of Matteo Convertino PhD

Matteo Convertino, PhD

Assistant Professor Environmental Health SciencesUniversity of Minnesota School of Public Health
Phone: 612-624-0132 Website: View Bio
Photo of Thomas Fritsche MD, PhD

Thomas Fritsche, MD, PhD

Pathologist & Director of Laboratory Medicine Marshfield LabsNational Farm Medicine Center
Photo of Dave Neitzel MS

Dave Neitzel, MS

Epidemiologist, Supervisor – Vector-borne Disease Unit Foodborne, Vector-borne, Waterborne and Zoonotic Diseases SectionMinnesota Department of Health

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