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Teenager’s Lifesaving TickTracker App Recognized by Department of Health & Human Services

September 22, 2018

Denver, Colo., Sept. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The new mobile application TickTracker, created by Colorado’s 14-year-old Olivia Goodreau will be joining a 14-week tech development sprint lead by the Department of Health and Human Services Office. Olivia is the youngest inventor to work with the program, which facilitates collaborations across sectors and leverages the power of data, technology, and agile methods for complex challenges like Lyme disease, clinical trials, and experimental therapies. Launched nationally in February 2018, TickTracker was released globally in July 2018.

“To be selected as a part of this prestigious program is an honor for sure,” said Goodreau. “The TickTracker idea came to me because my dog MO had 200 poppy seed ticks on him and I asked my Mom if there was an app to see what ticks were around us. Being selected for the HHS Tech Sprint program certainly lets me know that what we created is important, and the better we make it, the more people we can help educate and protect from ticks and tick-borne diseases. No one wants Lyme disease, trust me.”

The program utilizes a multi-step process that assists in public-private collaboration to tackle complex challenges with data, technology, and agile methods. Teams turn federal open data—datasets and resources freely available and open to the public on Data.gov —into new digital tools. The HHS tech sprint puts users and people first, while facilitating new collaborations across government, industry, academia, nonprofits, and diverse stakeholders. For this project, the TickTracker App’s mission is aimed at creating digital tools and data sharing capabilities for the prevention, education, and science that will support data-driven decisions and improve public health related to tick-borne disease.

As mentioned above, the idea for the TickTracker was born while trying to determine where Olivia’s dog may have picked up 200 ticks on his leg. It was then she recognized the need for an app-based technology to help others track the small arachnids. Users of the app do not have to be scientists; anyone noticing a tick can snap a picture, upload the details and the information goes into a large database, where it is synthesized for errors. Utilizing a patent-pending algorithm, TickTracker coordinates multiple tick-activity data sources into a simple and user-friendly format. In addition to providing real-time and historic data, such as tick sightings and bites, on an interactive map using geolocation, the life-saving app also educates users about tick identification, prevention and safety through game-based learning.

“We have been extremely honored to work with Olivia and the entire LivLyme Foundation team on developing the TickTracker app,” said Jeff Stauffer, Chief Insect Information Officer of TickTracker and president of the technology commercialization and app firm, thePLAN. “Based on our current usage, we will have the largest collection of tick sightings and tick reports in the world to further the global effort to eradicate tick-borne disease. We’ll also have tick photos that we can share with Lyme labs and research facilities to help scientists better track tick populations and ultimately aid in their research for a cure to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. So, this project is vital in our continued efforts to make known the availability of the free TickTracker app across the globe.”

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ABOUT OLIVIA

While in the first grade, Goodreau contracted Lyme disease during a family vacation, but it was not until years later, after seeing 51 doctors and going through a battery of tests, that she was diagnosed with the illness. Inspired by her own medical experience and understanding of the costs associated with Lyme disease treatment, she established the LivLyme Foundation ( http://livlymefoundation.org/ ) and has helped to raise more than $500,000 to fund Lyme disease research and provide grants to treat under-insured children and young adults affected by Lyme, the fastest growing vector-borne disease.

ABOUT THE LIVLYME SUMMIT

Through her dogged determination to find a cure for Lyme disease, Olivia Goodreau has garnered support from some of the world’s top scientists, many of whom came to Westminster, Colorado, to attend the first LivLyme Summit, September 22-23, 2018. The forum focused on the research being done across the globe to find a cure and the active measures being undertaken to help eradicate tick-borne illness. Speakers included:

-- Holly Ahern, MS, Biologist, State University of New York, Adirondack -- Phillip DeMio, MD, Private Practice -- Susan Green, Chief Legal Counsel, NatCap Lyme -- Debby Hamilton, MD, MPH Researched Nutritionals -- Kristen Honey, PhD, PMP Vice-Chair, Tick-Borne Disease Working Group Innovator in Residence United States DHHS -- Richard I. Horowitz, MD, Medical Director HVHAC, Member, HHS Tick-borne disease task force, Co-chair HHS Other Tick-Borne diseases and Co-infections subcommittee -- Kim Lewis, PhD, University Distinguished Professor Director, Antimicrobial Discovery Center Northeastern University -- Ricardo G. Maggi, MS, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Co-Director Vector-Borne Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, North Carolina State Veterinary Medicine -- Isaac Melamed, MD, Medical Director/Private Practice IMMUNOe Health and Research Centers -- Omar Morales, MD, Lyme Mexico -- Christian Perronne, PhD, MD, University of Versailles, France -- Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, Director, BIOADD and Assistant Director of CV Pharmacology, Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery, Stanford University -- Eva Sapi, PhD, Professor and Director of Lyme Disease Program, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of New Haven -- Jyotsna Shah, PhD, President and Laboratory Director of IGeneX Clinical Laboratory -- Jeff Stauffer, TickTracker Chief Insect Information Officer -- Heather Szerlong, PhD, CEO & Co-founder Ticknology -- Susanna N. Visser, DrPH, MS, Associate Director for Policy, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, National Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Center for Disease Control -- Ying Zhang, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

ABOUT LYME DISEASE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the U.S. every year. Found in all 50 States and more than 60 other countries, Lyme is most often transmitted by tick bites, but can be conveyed from mosquito bites, rodents, mother-to-child transmission, and other ways. The disease affects people of all ages; however, according to the CDC, it is most common in children and older adults. Outdoor enthusiasts, park rangers and firefighters have a higher risk of contracting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases because of their greater exposure to ticks.

Gerri Gomez Howard LivLyme Foundation gerri@gomezhowardgroup.com Jeff Howard LivLyme Foundation jeff@gomezhowardgroup.com

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