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The troublesome ticks research protocol: Developing a comprehensive, multidiscipline research plan for investigating human tick-associated disease in Australia

Barbosa, A.D.ORCID: 0000-0003-3289-1445, Long, M., Lee, W., Austen, J.M.ORCID: 0000-0002-1826-1634, Cunneen, M., Ratchford, A., Burns, B., Kumarasinghe, P., Ben-Othman, R., Kollmann, T.R., Stewart, C.R., Beaman, M., Parry, R., Hall, R., Tabor, A., O’Donovan, J., Faddy, H.M., Collins, M.A., Cheng, A.C., Stenos, J., Graves, S., Oskam, C.L., Ryan, U.M.ORCID: 0000-0003-2710-9324 and Irwin, P.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-0006-8262 (2022) The troublesome ticks research protocol: Developing a comprehensive, multidiscipline research plan for investigating human tick-associated disease in Australia. Pathogens, 11 (11). Article 1290.

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Abstract

In Australia, there is a paucity of data about the extent and impact of zoonotic tick-related illnesses. Even less is understood about a multifaceted illness referred to as Debilitating Symptom Complexes Attributed to Ticks (DSCATT). Here, we describe a research plan for investigating the aetiology, pathophysiology, and clinical outcomes of human tick-associated disease in Australia. Our approach focuses on the transmission of potential pathogens and the immunological responses of the patient after a tick bite. The protocol is strengthened by prospective data collection, the recruitment of two external matched control groups, and sophisticated integrative data analysis which, collectively, will allow the robust demonstration of associations between a tick bite and the development of clinical and pathological abnormalities. Various laboratory analyses are performed including metagenomics to investigate the potential transmission of bacteria, protozoa and/or viruses during tick bite. In addition, multi-omics technology is applied to investigate links between host immune responses and potential infectious and non-infectious disease causations. Psychometric profiling is also used to investigate whether psychological attributes influence symptom development. This research will fill important knowledge gaps about tick-borne diseases. Ultimately, we hope the results will promote improved diagnostic outcomes, and inform the safe management and treatment of patients bitten by ticks in Australia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Harry Butler Institute
Centre for Biosecurity and One Health
Health Futures Institute
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2022 by the authors
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/66582
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