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This project explores novel approaches to detecting tree pests. Using the case of oak processionary moth (OPM), it aims to assess the potential for medical, health and other professionals to form part of an ‘early warning’ system to detect new infestations.
Oak processionary moth nest on oak tree
Skin irritation caused by contact with OPM (Picture: Henry Kuppen)
This project will:
This project is ongoing, but early results suggest that medical professionals such as general practitioners and vets currently lack much knowledge of OPM and are not receiving or reporting human and animal health incidences.
Pharmacists appear to be more aware, and are more likely the first port of call for those individuals who have health symptoms associated with tree pests.
Social media (e.g. Twitter) does not appear to be a feasible route to early detection. The few cases of key words (e.g. itching, rash) being used were not linked to areas where OPM nests are known. However, it may be that that there were no negative impacts caused by OPM in the area under study.
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