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Babesiosis in Southeastern, Central and Northeastern Europe: An Emerging and Re-Emerging Tick-Borne Disease of Humans and Animals

Department of Eco-Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Biology, Institute of Developmental Biology and Biomedical Sciences, University of Warsaw, Miecznikowa 1, 02-096 Warsaw, Poland
Ribnjak 8, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Department for Bacteriology and Parasitology, Croatian Veterinary Institute, Savska Cesta 143, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
Vetsuisse Faculty, Institute of Parasitology, University of Zurich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland
Department of Parasitology and Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine, 1078 Budapest, Hungary
Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria
Department of Zoology, Musée National d’Historire Naturelle, 25, Rue Münster, 2160 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Infectious Disease Prepardness, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300 Copenhagen, Denmark
Clinical Unit of Internal Medicine Small Animals, Department/Universitätsklinik für Kleintiere und Pferde, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Wien, Austria
Small Animal Clinic of Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 62, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Vytautas Magnus University, K. Donelaičio str. 58, LT-44248 Kaunas, Lithuania
Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, LV-1067 Riga, Latvia
Centre for Infection Medicine, Institute for Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hannover, Germany
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, 5A Pawińskiego Str, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
Institute for Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pat Nuttall
Microorganisms 2022, 10(5), 945;
Received: 21 March 2022 / Revised: 19 April 2022 / Accepted: 26 April 2022 / Published: 30 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens)
There is now considerable evidence that in Europe, babesiosis is an emerging infectious disease, with some of the causative species spreading as a consequence of the increasing range of their tick vector hosts. In this review, we summarize both the historic records and recent findings on the occurrence and incidence of babesiosis in 20 European countries located in southeastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia), central Europe (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland), and northern and northeastern Europe (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway), identified in humans and selected species of domesticated animals (cats, dogs, horses, and cattle). Recorded cases of human babesiosis are still rare, but their number is expected to rise in the coming years. This is because of the widespread and longer seasonal activity of Ixodes ricinus as a result of climate change and because of the more extensive use of better molecular diagnostic methods. Bovine babesiosis has a re-emerging potential because of the likely loss of herd immunity, while canine babesiosis is rapidly expanding in central and northeastern Europe, its occurrence correlating with the rapid, successful expansion of the ornate dog tick (Dermacentor reticulatus) populations in Europe. Taken together, our analysis of the available reports shows clear evidence of an increasing annual incidence of babesiosis across Europe in both humans and animals that is changing in line with similar increases in the incidence of other tick-borne diseases. This situation is of major concern, and we recommend more extensive and frequent, standardized monitoring using a “One Health” approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: Babesia; emerging; One Health; tick; vector Babesia; emerging; One Health; tick; vector
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bajer, A.; Beck, A.; Beck, R.; Behnke, J.M.; Dwużnik-Szarek, D.; Eichenberger, R.M.; Farkas, R.; Fuehrer, H.-P.; Heddergott, M.; Jokelainen, P.; Leschnik, M.; Oborina, V.; Paulauskas, A.; Radzijevskaja, J.; Ranka, R.; Schnyder, M.; Springer, A.; Strube, C.; Tolkacz, K.; Walochnik, J. Babesiosis in Southeastern, Central and Northeastern Europe: An Emerging and Re-Emerging Tick-Borne Disease of Humans and Animals. Microorganisms 2022, 10, 945.

AMA Style

Bajer A, Beck A, Beck R, Behnke JM, Dwużnik-Szarek D, Eichenberger RM, Farkas R, Fuehrer H-P, Heddergott M, Jokelainen P, Leschnik M, Oborina V, Paulauskas A, Radzijevskaja J, Ranka R, Schnyder M, Springer A, Strube C, Tolkacz K, Walochnik J. Babesiosis in Southeastern, Central and Northeastern Europe: An Emerging and Re-Emerging Tick-Borne Disease of Humans and Animals. Microorganisms. 2022; 10(5):945.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bajer, Anna, Ana Beck, Relja Beck, Jerzy M. Behnke, Dorota Dwużnik-Szarek, Ramon M. Eichenberger, Róbert Farkas, Hans-Peter Fuehrer, Mike Heddergott, Pikka Jokelainen, Michael Leschnik, Valentina Oborina, Algimantas Paulauskas, Jana Radzijevskaja, Renate Ranka, Manuela Schnyder, Andrea Springer, Christina Strube, Katarzyna Tolkacz, and Julia Walochnik. 2022. "Babesiosis in Southeastern, Central and Northeastern Europe: An Emerging and Re-Emerging Tick-Borne Disease of Humans and Animals" Microorganisms 10, no. 5: 945.

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