On 4 March, the Participatory Research Award, Crowdsourcing category, was presented to the CiTIQUE programme. This prize was launched by INRAE in 2021, on the initiative of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, to showcase research projects involving both scientists and non-scientists.
Since it began in 2017, the CiTIQUE programme has been calling on the general public to report tick bites in the Signalement-Tique app and send any ticks they collect to the research team. CiTIQUE is run by INRAE, ANSES, the University of Lorraine and the Permanent centre for initiatives on the environment (CPIE) in Nancy-Champenoux. As part of this, the BIPAR joint research unit, made up of researchers from ANSES, INRAE and the Alfort National Veterinary School (EnvA), examines the ticks to identify the pathogens they carry.
Public participation generating more information on ticks
The aim of CiTIQUE is to gain a better understanding of tick ecology in order to prevent the diseases they transmit, such as Lyme disease. Citizen participation enables a massive amount of both information and ticks to be collected. The data are then analysed to determine where and when bites occur. The scientists also study the collected ticks to identify their species and find out which pathogens (viruses and bacteria) they carry. The programme has given rise to a related project called TIQUoJARDIN, in which ANSES's Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife is participating. This specifically aims to improve understanding of the risk of ticks in gardens, following the finding by the CiTIQUE programme that more than a quarter of reported bites occur in garden settings.