Objective: Tickborne diseases (TBDs) in Illinois have increased in recent years. A growing body of literature indicates that the risk of exposure to ticks and tickborne diseases is higher among outdoor workers, including farmers. However, information is lacking on awareness of ticks and tickborne diseases among this demographic. This study aimed to determine the knowledge and awareness among Illinois farmers regarding ticks and tickborne diseases. Methods: A Knowledge, Attitudes & Prevention practices (KAP) survey was developed and administered to capture information regarding farmers’ knowledge and attitudes about ticks and TBDs. Tick drags were conducted on a subset of properties as an incentive to complete the survey and to compare farmers’ knowledge or expectations of ticks on their land with ticks collected. Results: Fifty farmers participated in the survey, and 17 allowed tick drags. Only 60% of respondents had at least moderate knowledge about ticks gained through family and friends (56%), medical and healthcare personnel (48%), and the internet (44%). Responses varied by the type of commodity produced by the farmer. Fifty percent of participants reported knowledge about the blacklegged tick, 34% for the American dog tick, and 42% for the lone star tick; this knowledge also varied by farm type. Most farmers (54%) agreed that preventative behaviors could protect against tickborne diseases. Self-reported knowledge was significantly and directly associated with knowledge scores (p <.001). Conclusion: Knowledge of ticks and TBDs was lower among crop farmers than beef or mixed commodity farmers, but farmers generally have moderate knowledge of tick species in Illinois. Many participants expressed low concern over contracting a TBD, but many were also dissatisfied with the level of tick prevention measures that they follow. These results can be utilized to fill in knowledge gaps and develop informational materials to help farmers protect themselves against ticks and TBDs.
- Tickborne diseases (TBDs)
- KAP survey
- knowledge gaps
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health