Interview #5 Mette Frimodt Hansen

Mette Frimodt Hansen is a PhD student at Roskidle University in Copenhagen, Denmark. As part of her PhD project and the NorthTick project she has made a website where people can registrer tick bites and get information about the prevention of tick-borne diseases.  

You have made a new website www.flå which was launched late August 2021. Why did you make this website and who is the target audience?

I noticed, that when I talk to people and tell them what my PhD project is about, everyone has a story to tell about ticks and always ask how dangerous they are. So, I made the webpage because of two things: 1) I wanted to make a trustworthy and scientifically based (not commercial) webpage that gathers all the necessary information about ticks and tick-borne diseases; and 2) I also wanted to  gather information about the distribution of ticks, tick bites and subsequent rashes ( including erythrema mirans EM) in Denmark. By providing the option of uploading pictures of ticks and rashes we can see what kinds of ticks are out there (of course it is mainly Ixodes ricinus, but surprisingly, we actually have one registration of Dermacentor reticulatus, unfortunately without a picture).

On the website people can register tick bites and get information about prevention of tick-borne diseases. Has there been a lot of interest/participation for the website so far?

So far, were have 500 registrations. People can register tick bites, rashes, and crawling ticks from both humans and pets. As of beginning of November 2021 we have approximately 521 visits on the webpage, so most people that go to the webpage also make a registration. In addition to this, we have also received approximately 30 e-mails from people that are either concerned about ticks or that just have questions or comments. Almost everyone express that they are happy to see this type of Danish webpage about ticks.

Why is this website important?

There are some myths and stories about ticks and tick-borne diseases that are written on questionable webpages that people might believe. Hopefully, we can help clarify some questions people might have. It is also super important that our research gets out to the public, so they can benefit from the knowledge we are gathering.

Who is behind this website (is it a part of your PhD-work? Which activity in the NorthTick project?)

We, Karen A. Krogfelt and I, at Roskilde University are behind this webpage. The hope is, that we can get other collaborators in the field to contribute to the webpage. I am for example a biologist, but I think it is important to also get information out to the public from e.g., medical doctors working in the field of tick-borne diseases. So far, Lukas Ocias, Central Hospital Karlstad, has helped with the content for the subject diseases and symptoms, but I hope for comments and reports from other tick researchers. The webpage is also a part of my PhD work which is co-financed by InterReg North Sea Region and Roskilde University. Being part of InterReg we cover communication and dissemination of knowledge for tick borne diseases (WP2) and the risk of being tick bitten in different regions in dk (WP3). As a PhD student it is important to inform the public about the research that is carried on at Roskilde University.

 Is this the first of its kind in Denmark? (or are you competing with other websites?)

This is the first and only of its kind in Denmark. As mentioned earlier, it has received positive statements from users.