Prevention of tick bites: an evaluation of a smartphone app

L. Antonise-Kamp*, D. J. M. A. Beaujean, R. Crutzen, J. E. van Steenbergen, D. Ruwaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most common reported tick-borne infection in Europe, and involves transmission of Borrelia by ticks. As long as a vaccine is not available and effective measures for controlling tick populations are insufficient, LB control is focused on preventive measures to avoid tick bites. To inform citizens about the risk of ticks, motivate them to check for tick bites, and encourage them to remove any attached tick as quickly as possible, a mobile app called 'Tekenbeet' (Dutch for tick bite') was developed and released. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usage and user satisfaction of the 'Tekenbeet' app and to investigate whether it affects users' knowledge, perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, self-efficacy, response efficacy, current behavior and intention to comply with preventive measures.

Methods: Usage of the app was evaluated with data obtained from Google Analytics. A survey among the Dutch general adult population with two data collection periods evaluated the usage, user satisfaction and its influence on abovementioned outcomes.

Results: Data obtained from Google Analytics showed the app was downloaded almost 40,000 in the 20 months following the launch. The 'tick radar' and 'tick diary' screens were viewed most often. In addition, a total of 554 respondents completed an online survey. The mean user satisfaction score was 7.44 (on a scale of 1-10) and 90.9% of respondents would recommend the app to others. On average, survey respondents who downloaded the app (n = 243) recorded significantly more often higher knowledge scores (OR 3.37; 95% CI 2.02-5.09) and had a higher intention to comply with preventive measures (OR 2.47; 95% CI 1.22-5.85) compared to respondents who did not download the app (n = 311).

Conclusions: The 'Te kenbeet' app is a frequently used and well-appreciated educational tool to increase public knowledge of ticks and tick bites. It also helps to improve the user's intention to apply preventive measures. The use of smartphones and apps is now commonplace in the Netherlands; the 'Tekenbeet' app feeds into this trend and thereby offers a modern day alternative to established formats such as an information leaflet and information provision on the Internet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number744
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2017


  • Lyme disease
  • public health
  • Borrelia
  • ticks
  • mobile application
  • smartphone
  • Educational interventions


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