Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programs for ticks confirmed

Date:
September 30, 2010
Source:
Basque Research
Summary:
Researchers have undertaken a study of ticks, tick-borne diseases and the reservoirs of tick-borne pathogens, which has confirmed the importance of continuous surveillance programs to monitor these arthropods.

Male and female I. ricinus.
Credit: Image courtesy of Elhuyar Fundazioa

Researchers at the Basque Institute of Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, have undertaken a study of ticks, tick-borne diseases and the reservoirs of tick-borne pathogens, which has confirmed the importance of continous surveillance programs to monitor these arthropods. T

Related Articles


he research was undertaken in the Basque Country and has revealed an increase in the abundance of ticks due to the rise in the average winter temperatures. It has also pointed out that the most abundant species in the area is Ixodes ricinus, considered to be the vector of various pathogenic agents. The study is part of the PhD thesis by veterinarian Jesϊs Fιlix Barandika Iza, who has confirmed the need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programmes for ticks in order to help the implementation of efficacious measures for reducing the risk of infections transmitted by ticks to people and animals.

The Neiker-Tecnalia research focused on aspects of seasonality of the tick populations and their relation to bioclimatic characteristics, and the prevalence of various zoonotic agents, as well as the role of micromammals as reservoirs for some of these pathogens.

No encephalitis virus

The most widespread species in the Basque Country is Ixodes ricinus. Unlike what happens in regions of Central Europe, the study revealed that this tick is not a vector of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in the Basque Country or in La Rioja, possibly due to the fact that the climatic conditions of both zones do not favour TBEV maintenance in this environment. To arrive at this conclusion, the activity of ticks of the I. ricinus species was studied over three years in the two regions mentioned above, with the aim of determining if the necessary conditions exist for the presence of the virus, as well as assessing -- by molecular methods -- the presence of the virus in the collected ticks.

Besides TBEV, ticks are able to transmit numerous zoonotic bacteria, such as Borrelia burgdorferi (causative agent of Lyme's disease), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytic anaplasmosis), Coxiella burnetii (Q Fever) or several Spotted Fever Group rickettsias (microorganisms that have features in common with viruses and bacteria). Hence, with the purpose of estimating the prevalence of these agents in ticks collected in the Basque Country, 691 adult ticks belonging to six different species were analysed using molecular methods.

With the exception of the Dermacentor reticulatus species, in which the presence of Rickettsia raoultii was detected in 50% of the samples, infection prevalence for the remaining pathogens was generally lower than in other European countries. Despite its low pathogenicity, R. raoultii has been occasionally associated with disease, and this is the first time it has been detected amongst ticks from the Basque Country.

As regards seasonality, winter was the season when the number of ticks infected with R. raoultii was higher, while summer represented the highest risk for A. phagocytophilum and B. burgdorferi infection. The transmission of C. burnetii in the Basque Country does not seem to be produced by bites from ixodid ticks, since C. burnetii DNA was only detected in 0.1 % of the ticks.

Different species depending on bioclimatic conditions

Tick species distribution, activity and abundance depend largely on bioclimatic conditions. Knowledge of all these aspects is essential from the sanitary point of view since different diseases are specifically transmitted by certain tick species, and each tick species has a particular seasonality.

In order to study the effect of the climate and vegetation on the distribution of ticks in the Basque Country, samples of these arthropods were monthly sampled for several years. The results were compared with those obtained by researchers at the Veterinary Faculty in Madrid from samplings performed in Central Spain (Madrid-Toledo) at the same time and using the same methodology. In total 12 different species of ixodid ticks were identified, with a predominance in the North of those species adapted to live in wet environments (I. ricinus and Haemaphysalis punctata); while in the Centre species that usually occupy drier habitats predominated (Hyalomma lusitanicum and Dermacentor marginatus).

The data from the Basque Country was compared to that obtained a decade previously in the same zone, with an observed increase in tick abundance over time -- a fact associated with higher winter temperatures registered during this latter period. An established population of Haemaphysalis concinna was detected for the first time, a species which did not appear to be present in the Basque Country previously.

Micromammals as reservoirs of bacteria

Finally, to assess the possible role of micromammals as reservoirs for these tick-borne bacteria, 253 domestic and wild micromammals were investigated by Neiker-Tecnalia researchers. The results showed for the first time that the shrew species Crocidura russula and Sorex coronatus can act as possible reservoirs of A. phagocytophilum and B. burgdorferi, respectively. The presence of C. burnetii DNA was also detected in domestic and wild mice. These results point out the important role of micromammals in our region as reservoirs of tick-borne bacterial pathogens.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Basque Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Basque Research. "Need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programs for ticks confirmed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930112208.htm>.
Basque Research. (2010, September 30). Need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programs for ticks confirmed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930112208.htm
Basque Research. "Need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programs for ticks confirmed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930112208.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins