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University of Idaho Leads $6 million Study of Lyme Disease

 A research team with the University of Idaho will take the lead in a major nearly $6 million cooperative agreement designed to better prevent and respond to the surging numbers of tick-borne illnesses in the United States.

The four-year, $6 million National Science Foundation study will see researchers design a data framework that will help track the spread of illnesses linked to tick bites. Teams are particularly focused on the spread of disease east-to-west across the U.S., according to the University.

“The thing about tick data is, once you get out of the Midwest and East Coast, these data are very sparse,” said Lucas Sheneman, grant participant and director of U of I’s data management center, the Northwest Knowledge Network. “Databases that are out there are so siloed, they don’t communicate with each other. What we’re proposing is developing one comprehensive data framework to offer compatible resources to scientists and the general public.”

There will also be student groups at U of I’s Polymorphic Games studio working to put together a video game, among other educational resources, designed to reach K-12 students about risks and safety connected to tick-borne illnesses. Lyme disease and other tick-related illnesses disproportionately affect children ages 5 through 10.

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