Sympatric Ixodes-tick species : pattern of distribution and pathogen transmission within wild rodent populations
Cayol, Claire; Jääskeläinen, Anu; Koskela, Esa; Kyröläinen, Sami; Mappes, Tapio; Siukkola, Anja; Kallio, Eva R. (2018-11-09)
Cayol, C., Jääskeläinen, A., Koskela, E., Kyröläinen, S., Mappes, T., Siukkola, A., Kallio, E. (2018) Sympatric Ixodes-tick species: pattern of distribution and pathogen transmission within wild rodent populations. Scientific Reports, 8, 16660. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35031-0
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The generalist tick Ixodes ricinus is the most important vector for tick-borne pathogens (TBP), including Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, in Europe. However, the involvement of other sympatric Ixodes ticks, such as the specialist vole tick I. trianguliceps, in the enzootic circulations of TBP remains unclear. We studied the distribution of I. ricinus and I. trianguliceps in Central Finland and estimated the TBP infection likelihood in the most common rodent host in relation with the abundance of the two tick species. Ixodes trianguliceps was encountered in all 16 study sites whereas I. ricinus was frequently observed only at a quarter of the study sites. The abundance of I. ricinus was positively associated with open water coverage and human population density around the study sites. Borrelia burgdorferi s. l.-infected rodents were found only in sites where I. ricinus was abundant, whereas the occurrence of other TBP was independent of I. ricinus presence. These results suggest that I. trianguliceps is not sufficient, at least alone, in maintaining the circulation of B. burgdorferi s. l. in wild hosts. In addition, anthropogenic factors might affect the distribution of I. ricinus ticks and, hence, their pathogens, thus shaping the landscape of tick-borne disease risk for humans.
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