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Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus: Seasonal and Annual Variation of Epidemiological Parameters Related to Nymph-to-Larva Transmission and Exposure of Small Mammals

1
Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife, The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), 54220 Malzéville, France
2
Unité Mixte de Recherche Biologie Moléculaire et Immunologie Parasitaire (UMR BIPAR), ANSES, INRAE, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, Université Paris-Est, 94700 Maisons-Alfort, France
3
Infectious Disease Department, University Hospital Strasbourg, 67000 Strasbourg, France
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: AgResearch, Hopkirk Research Institute, Grasslands Research Centre, Palmerston North 4410, New Zealand.
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9070518
Received: 10 April 2020 / Revised: 23 June 2020 / Accepted: 25 June 2020 / Published: 27 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
A greater knowledge of the ecology of the natural foci of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is essential to better assess the temporal variations of the risk of tick-borne encephalitis for humans. To describe the seasonal and inter-annual variations of the TBEV-cycle and the epidemiological parameters related to TBEV nymph-to-larva transmission, exposure of small mammals to TBEV, and tick aggregation on small mammals, a longitudinal survey in ticks and small mammals was conducted over a 3-year period in a mountain forest in Alsace, eastern France. TBEV prevalence in questing nymphs was lower in 2013 than in 2012 and 2014, probably because small mammals (Myodes glareolus and Apodemus flavicollis) were more abundant in 2012, which reduced tick aggregation and co-feeding transmission between ticks. The prevalence of TBEV in questing nymphs was higher in autumn than spring. Despite these variations in prevalence, the density of infected questing nymphs was constant over time, leading to a constant risk for humans. The seroprevalence of small mammals was also constant over time, although the proportion of rodents infested with ticks varied between years and seasons. Our results draw attention to the importance of considering the complex relationship between small mammal densities, tick aggregation on small mammals, density of infected questing nymphs, and prevalence of infected nymphs in order to forecast the risk of TBEV for humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: tick-borne encephalitis virus; Ixodes ricinus; ticks; transmission; small mammals; seroprevalence; density of infected ticks tick-borne encephalitis virus; Ixodes ricinus; ticks; transmission; small mammals; seroprevalence; density of infected ticks
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Bournez, L.; Umhang, G.; Moinet, M.; Richomme, C.; Demerson, J.-M.; Caillot, C.; Devillers, E.; Boucher, J.-M.; Hansmann, Y.; Boué, F.; Moutailler, S. Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus: Seasonal and Annual Variation of Epidemiological Parameters Related to Nymph-to-Larva Transmission and Exposure of Small Mammals. Pathogens 2020, 9, 518.

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