Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of

Faculty Mentor Department

Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Peter Mcdonough


Climate Change, Rickettsia rickettsii, Vector-Borne Disease, Mapping, Public Health

Subject Categories

Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Bacteriology | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Disease Modeling | International Public Health | Other Environmental Sciences | Parasitic Diseases | Pathogenic Microbiology


As climate change progresses, vector-borne diseases will spatially spread to novel environmental niches. Among those vector-borne diseases is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), a tick-borne disease (TBD) that is caused by the bacteria Rickettsia Rickettsii. To predict the spread of RMSF, we modeled future climate scenarios using environmental variables from western Montana. Using this model, we have designed a protocol to enable and promote public awareness of vector-borne diseases. These interventional measures aim to anticipate and decrease disease prevalence through distribution of information about risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options. Our health promotion strategy encompasses two crucial aspects in outreach: first to reinforce healthcare providers and facilitators, and secondly to educate and enable the public to take initiative in regards to their health. Healthcare providers and facilitators will be reinforced through seminars we will design that discuss the interventional methods described above (Figure 7). Public outreach that promotes self-prevention of RMSF will include creating fliers, informational pieces such as articles on the possible spread of RMSF, and educational programs that target students in at-risk areas for RMSF. RMSF in Montana represents a microcosm of a greater climate-driven global threat to human health. This combined methodology tackles the imminent threat of RMSF to the Western Montana area.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




© Copyright 2019 Tiffany Matthews, Benjamin Hickey, Sydney Qualls, Max Enger, Ella Baumgarten, and Ronan Kennedy