An app to track ticks and prevent Lyme disease has been launched in the Highlands, with funding from the European and UK space agencies.
The £1.1 million project will allow members of the public to report tick sightings and bites and help scientists monitor cases of Lyme disease.
Developed by International Disease Mapping Apps, a new company formed by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), LymeApp uses satellite data to highlight where the disease has been detected across the northern hemisphere.
Data will be monitored by the Scottish Lyme Disease and Tick-borne Infections Reference Laboratory in Inverness, where developers hope to use the information to stop the spread of the infection.
Morven-May MacCallum, from the Highlands, was at the launch of the app and told how Lyme disease had left her bedridden for eight years.
Ms MacCallum said:
“Lyme disease is an illness of unquestionable power and the damage it’s had on my life and for thousands like me is unmeasurable.
It’s wonderful to see professionals from across different areas of expertise come together to help advance our knowledge of this disease and, in the process, hopefully find the answers which are so desperately needed.”
Professor George Gunn, SRUC’s head of veterinary epidemiology and leader of the project, said:
“This is an extremely exciting, integrated project involving satellites, emerging technology and big data.
Following a successful feasibility study, I would like to thank the sponsors and the businesses and individuals who have agreed to take part in this demonstration phase.”