Tick Bite Risk as a Socio-Spatial Representation—An Exploratory Study in Massif Central, France | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
March 2019
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© 2019 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Ticks are responsible for the largest number of transmissions of vector-borne diseases in the northern hemisphere, which makes the risk from tick bites a serious public health problem. Biological scientific research and prevention studies are important, but they have not focused on the population’s perception of tick bite risk, especially at a spatial level. This exploratory article sets out to study this point through an innovative methodology involving the collection of 133 mental maps associated with a semi-structured interview and a socio-demographic questionnaire collected in the Massif Central region, France. The results show a strong link between the representation of the tick bite risk and the representation of particular landscapes. Forests appear as dangerous for the population, especially in the traditional activities of family walking or hiking. This calls into question overly anxiogenic prevention approaches that neglect the impact on practices in risk-prone spaces. It accentuates the need for localized education measure to improve knowledge about tick biology and avoid stereotypical and unnecessary negative representations associated with the environment.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Dernat, Sylvain
Johany, François


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