Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 437881
Title Circumstantial evidence for an increase in the total number and activity of borrelia-infected ixodes ricinus in the Netherlands.
Author(s) Sprong, H.; Hofhuis, A.; Gassner, F.; Takken, W.; Jacobs, F.; Vliet, A.J.H. van; Ballegooijen, M. van; Giessen, J. van der; Takumi, K.
Source Parasites & Vectors 5 (2012)5. - ISSN 1756-3305 - 11 p.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-5-294
Department(s) Laboratory of Entomology
Environmental Systems Analysis Group
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) tick-borne diseases - burgdorferi sensu-lato - owls strix-aluco - lyme borreliosis - population-dynamics - ixodidae nymphs - endemic area - acari - ecology - risk
Abstract BACKGROUND: Between 1994 and 2009, a threefold increase has been observed in consultations of general practitioners for tick bites and Lyme disease in The Netherlands. The objective of this study was to determine whether an increase in the number of questing ticks infected with B. burgdorferi sensu lato is a potential cause of the rise in Lyme disease incidence. METHODS: Historic data on land usage, temperature and wildlife populations were collected and analyzed together with data from two longitudinal field studies on density of questing ticks. Effective population sizes of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. were calculated. RESULTS: Long-term trend analyses indicated that the length of the annual tick questing season increased as well as the surface area of tick-suitable habitats in The Netherlands. The overall abundances of feeding and reproductive hosts also increased. Mathematical analysis of the data from the field studies demonstrated an increase in mean densities/activities of questing ticks, particularly of larvae between 2006 and 2009. No increase in infection rate of ticks with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato was found. Population genetic analysis of the collected Borrelia species points to an increase in B. afzelii and B. garinii populations. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these findings indicate an increase in the total number of Borrelia-infected ticks, providing circumstantial evidence for an increase in the risk of acquiring a bite of a tick infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. Due to the high spatiotemporal variation of tick densities/activities, long-term longitudinal studies on population dynamics of I. ricinus are necessary to observe significant trends.
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