Quantitative ecology of ticks as a basis for transmission models of tick-borne pathogens

Sarah Randolph
Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2002, 2 (4): 209-15
Tick population ecology is the basis of spatiotemporal variation in the risk of infection by tick-borne pathogens. The continental distribution of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in Europe is statistically associated with a specific pattern of the seasonal dynamics of Ixodes ricinus, and a particular characteristic of the seasonal land surface temperature profile. A tick population model would allow us to move from this statistical analysis to a biological, process-based model for TBE virus and the many other pathogens vectored by Ixodes spp. ticks in Europe and the United States. Long-term field data on I. ricinus are analyzed to provide empirical estimates of rates of the major demographic processes, development, questing, attachment to hosts, and mortality.

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