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Article

Low Risk Perception about Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in an Area Recently Invaded by Ticks in Northwestern Italy

1
Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Turin, L.go Braccini, 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
2
Ente di Gestione delle Aree Protette delle Alpi Cozie, Via Fransuà Fontan, 1, 10050 Salbertrand, Italy
3
Ente di Gestione delle Aree Protette del Po Torinese, Corso Trieste 98, 10024 Moncalieri, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tetsuya Tanaka
Vet. Sci. 2021, 8(7), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8070131
Received: 16 June 2021 / Revised: 9 July 2021 / Accepted: 10 July 2021 / Published: 13 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Tickborne Diseases)
Risk perception, together with the adoption of measures to prevent tick bites, may strongly influence human exposure to ticks and transmitted pathogens. We created a questionnaire to evaluate how people perceive the health risk posed by ticks in an area recently invaded by these arthropods, in the western Italian Alps. Moreover, through a collaborative effort with park rangers and physicians, we investigated which tick species bite humans and their infection with pathogens (Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and spotted-fever group Rickettsiae). Apart from two Dermacentor marginatus bites, we identified Ixodes ricinus (n = 124) as the main species responsible for tick bites. The investigated pathogens infected 25.4% of tested I. ricinus. The evaluation of the engorgement rate of biting I. ricinus revealed that they had been likely feeding on humans for 24 h or more, suggesting a high probability of pathogen transmission. Indeed, the questionnaires revealed that people infrequently adopt preventive measures, such as inspecting the body for ticks, although most respondents claimed that ticks are a threat to human health. Having suffered from previous tick bites was positively associated with the adoption of personal protection measures. Given the increasing incidence of tick-borne diseases in the region, the public should be better informed about the possibility of being bitten by infected ticks in order to mitigate the risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ixodes ricinus; tick-borne pathogens; risk perception; Alpine area; Italy Ixodes ricinus; tick-borne pathogens; risk perception; Alpine area; Italy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Garcia-Vozmediano, A.; Giglio, G.; Ramassa, E.; Nobili, F.; Rossi, L.; Tomassone, L. Low Risk Perception about Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in an Area Recently Invaded by Ticks in Northwestern Italy. Vet. Sci. 2021, 8, 131. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8070131

AMA Style

Garcia-Vozmediano A, Giglio G, Ramassa E, Nobili F, Rossi L, Tomassone L. Low Risk Perception about Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in an Area Recently Invaded by Ticks in Northwestern Italy. Veterinary Sciences. 2021; 8(7):131. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8070131

Chicago/Turabian Style

Garcia-Vozmediano, Aitor, Giorgia Giglio, Elisa Ramassa, Fabrizio Nobili, Luca Rossi, and Laura Tomassone. 2021. "Low Risk Perception about Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in an Area Recently Invaded by Ticks in Northwestern Italy" Veterinary Sciences 8, no. 7: 131. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8070131

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