Spread of ticks and tick-borne diseases in Germany due to global warming

Kathrin Hartelt, Silvia Pluta, Rainer Oehme, Peter Kimmig
Parasitology Research 2008, 103 Suppl 1: S109-16
Tick-transmitted diseases like tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme Borreliosis have been well known in Germany for decades. Global climate changes may influence the emergence and reemergence of diseases. Ongoing research now gives an additional focus on other tick-borne pathogens such as Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia conorii, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia spp., the causative agents of Q-fever, Mediterranean spotted fever, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis, respectively. The epidemiology of these pathogens was investigated on ticks as well as on rodents, the main hosts. Therefore adults of Dermacentor spp. (n = 862) and rodents (n = 119) were collected and examined for the existence of C. burnetii and Rickettsia spp. by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In none of the ticks and rodents C. burnetii could be detected, in contrast to Rickettsia spp. where the infection rate in ticks was about 20%. Over and above that, nymphs and adults of Ixodes ricinus were also collected and investigated by PCR for A. phagocytophilum (n = 5,424), Rickettsia helvetica (n = 1,187) and Babesia spp. (n = 3,113). Thereby infection rates of 1%, 8.9% and 1%, respectively, could be determined. The prevalence in rodents was 5.3% for A. phagocytophilum and 0.8% for Babesia microti. None of the rodents was R. helvetica positive.

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