E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Emergence of Tick-Borne Diseases Resulting from Human Landscape Change"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Douglas E. Norris

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Baltimore, United States
Website | E-Mail
Interests: vector-borne diseases; vector ecology; vector foraging behavior; population structure; emerging vectors and pathogens
Guest Editor
Dr. Giovanna Carpi

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Baltimore, United States
Website | E-Mail
Interests: vector-borne diseases; disease ecology; pathogen population genomics and evolution; metagenomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, tick-borne diseases (TBDs) have emerged and expanded at a global scale. For instance, the average number of reported Lyme disease cases has more than tripled from 1995 to 2015 with approximately 40,000 cases officially reported each year in the United States alone. Even these numbers are thought to be grossly underreported, with estimates of up to 300,000 cases of Lyme disease occurring in the United States each year. Likewise, the number of reported cases of anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and spotted fever group rickettsiosis have steadily increased from 2000 to the present day. The upsurge of TBDs is due in part to the expanding range of tick vectors, reservoir hosts, and pathogens, and to an array of environmental pressures. Humans have undeniably had an impact on the global environment, especially in the context of landscape change, which includes changes in land use or land cover, habitat fragmentation, and change in host communities due to these factors. This changing ecology has altered the way vertebrate hosts and ticks utilize the environment and interact, which in turn influences the spatial and temporal distribution and dynamics of tick-borne pathogens. Together, these changes have increased the risk of humans to tick-borne pathogens. Although a growing literature on this topic exists, there are still significant knowledge gaps, both at the level of basic biology and at the applied level of how to mitigate this risk.

Due to the increased global risk of tick-borne infections, this special issue will focus on the impact of human-induced landscape change on the emergence and expansion of tick-borne diseases. Key topics addressed in this issue include but are not restricted to: (1) links between biodiversity and TBDs risk; (2) mechanisms of tick population expansion and dispersal; and (3) habitat fragmentation and/or use of greenspace.  Filling these knowledge gaps will provide general insights into the drivers and dynamics of TBD emergence and will ultimately inform control. This Special Issue will be inclusive of all tick-borne pathogens while targeting as diverse a representation of ecological change as possible.

Prof. Dr. Douglas E. Norris
Dr. Giovanna Carpi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ticks
  • tick-borne disease
  • ecology
  • landscape
  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • protozoans

Published Papers (7 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-7
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Reconciling the Entomological Hazard and Disease Risk in the Lyme Disease System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15051048
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4342 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Lyme disease (LD) is a commonly cited model for the link between habitat loss and/or fragmentation and disease emergence, based in part on studies showing that forest patch size is negatively related to LD entomological risk. An equivalent relationship has not, however, been [...] Read more.
Lyme disease (LD) is a commonly cited model for the link between habitat loss and/or fragmentation and disease emergence, based in part on studies showing that forest patch size is negatively related to LD entomological risk. An equivalent relationship has not, however, been shown between patch size and LD incidence (LDI). Because entomological risk is measured at the patch scale, while LDI is generally assessed in relation to aggregate landscape statistics such as forest cover, we posit that the contribution of individual patches to human LD risk has not yet been directly evaluated. We design a model that directly links theoretical entomological risk at the patch scale to larger-scale epidemiological data. We evaluate its predictions for relative LD risk in artificial landscapes with varying composition and configuration, and test its ability to predict countywide LDI in a 12-county region of New York. On simulated landscapes, we find that the model predicts a unimodal relationship between LD incidence and forest cover, mean patch size, and mean minimum distance (a measure of isolation), and a protective effect for percolation probability (a measure of connectivity). In New York, risk indices generated by this model are significantly related to countywide LDI. The results suggest that the lack of concordance between entomological risk and LDI may be partially resolved by this style of model. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Patterns in the Prevalence and Diversity of Tick-Borne Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. in an Urban Temperate Forest in South Western Slovakia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050994
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1633 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus is the most important vector of tick-borne zoonotic bacteria. It transmits spirochaetes from the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. Although spatial differences in the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens have been intensively studied, seasonal (within-year) [...] Read more.
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus is the most important vector of tick-borne zoonotic bacteria. It transmits spirochaetes from the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. Although spatial differences in the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens have been intensively studied, seasonal (within-year) fluctuations in the prevalence of these pathogens within sites are often overlooked. We analyzed the occurrence and seasonal dynamics of Ixodes ricinus in an urban forest in Bratislava, Slovakia. Furthemore, we examined temporal trends in the community structure of B. burgdorferi s.l., A. phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. in questing and bird-feeding ticks. The total prevalence for B. burgdorferi s.l. in questing I. ricinus was 6.8%, involving six genospecies with the dominance of bird-associated B. garinii and B. valaisiana. A. phagocytophilum, R. helvetica and R. monacensis occurred in 5.9%, 5.0% and 0.2% of questing ticks, respectively. In total, 12.5% and 4.4% of bird-feeding I. ricinus ticks carried B. burgdorferi s.l. and R. helvetica. The total prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l. in our study site was two times lower than the mean prevalence for Europe. In contrast, A. phagocytophilum prevalence was significantly higher compared to those in other habitats of Slovakia. Our results imply that tick propagation and the transmission, suppression and seasonal dynamics of tick-borne pathogens at the study site were primarily shaped by abundance and temporal population fluctuations in ruminant and bird hosts. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Using Landscape Analysis to Test Hypotheses about Drivers of Tick Abundance and Infection Prevalence with Borrelia burgdorferi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 737; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040737
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
PDF Full-text (8931 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Patterns of vector-borne disease risk are changing globally in space and time and elevated disease risk of vector-borne infection can be driven by anthropogenic modification of the environment. Incidence of Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, has risen in [...] Read more.
Patterns of vector-borne disease risk are changing globally in space and time and elevated disease risk of vector-borne infection can be driven by anthropogenic modification of the environment. Incidence of Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, has risen in a number of locations in North America and this increase may be driven by spatially or numerically expanding populations of the primary tick vector, Ixodes scapularis. We used a model selection approach to identify habitat fragmentation and land-use/land cover variables to test the hypothesis that the amount and configuration of forest cover at spatial scales relevant to deer, the primary hosts of adult ticks, would be the predominant determinants of tick abundance. We expected that land cover heterogeneity and amount of forest edge, a habitat thought to facilitate deer foraging and survival, would be the strongest driver of tick density and that larger spatial scales (5–10 km) would be more important than smaller scales (1 km). We generated metrics of deciduous and mixed forest fragmentation using Fragstats 4.4 implemented in ArcMap 10.3 and found, after adjusting for multicollinearity, that total forest edge within a 5 km buffer had a significant negative effect on tick density and that the proportion of forested land cover within a 10 km buffer was positively associated with density of I. scapularis nymphs. None of the 1 km fragmentation metrics were found to significantly improve the fit of the model. Elevation, previously associated with increased density of I. scapularis nymphs in Virginia, while significantly predictive in univariate analysis, was not an important driver of nymph density relative to fragmentation metrics. Our results suggest that amount of forest cover (i.e., lack of fragmentation) is the most important driver of I. scapularis density in our study system. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Climate and Land Use on the Spatio-Temporal Variability of Tick-Borne Bacteria in Europe
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040732
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (11893 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The incidence of tick-borne diseases caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. has been rising in Europe in recent decades. Early pre-assessment of acarological hazard still represents a complex challenge. The aim of this study was to model Ixodes [...] Read more.
The incidence of tick-borne diseases caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. has been rising in Europe in recent decades. Early pre-assessment of acarological hazard still represents a complex challenge. The aim of this study was to model Ixodes ricinus questing nymph density and its infection rate with B. burgdorferi s.l., A. phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. in five European countries (Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) in various land cover types differing in use and anthropisation (agricultural, urban and natural) with climatic and environmental factors (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), Land Surface Temperature (LST) and precipitation). We show that the relative abundance of questing nymphs was significantly associated with climatic conditions, such as higher values of NDVI recorded in the sampling period, while no differences were observed among land use categories. However, the density of infected nymphs (DIN) also depended on the pathogen considered and land use. These results contribute to a better understanding of the variation in acarological hazard for Ixodes ricinus transmitted pathogens in Central Europe and provide the basis for more focused ecological studies aimed at assessing the effect of land use in different sites on tick–host pathogens interaction. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Predictive Model Has Identified Tick-Borne Encephalitis High-Risk Areas in Regions Where No Cases Were Reported Previously, Poland, 1999–2012
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040677
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (22986 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
During 1999–2012, 77% of the cases of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) were recorded in two out of 16 Polish provinces. However, historical data, mostly from national serosurveys, suggest that the disease could be undetected in many areas. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
During 1999–2012, 77% of the cases of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) were recorded in two out of 16 Polish provinces. However, historical data, mostly from national serosurveys, suggest that the disease could be undetected in many areas. The aim of this study was to identify which routinely-measured meteorological, environmental, and socio-economic factors are associated to TBE human risk across Poland, with a particular focus on areas reporting few cases, but where serosurveys suggest higher incidence. We fitted a zero-inflated Poisson model using data on TBE incidence recorded in 108 NUTS-5 administrative units in high-risk areas over the period 1999–2012. Subsequently we applied the best fitting model to all Polish municipalities. Keeping the remaining variables constant, the predicted rate increased with the increase of air temperature over the previous 10–20 days, precipitation over the previous 20–30 days, in forestation, forest edge density, forest road density, and unemployment. The predicted rate decreased with increasing distance from forests. The map of predicted rates was consistent with the established risk areas. It predicted, however, high rates in provinces considered TBE-free. We recommend raising awareness among physicians working in the predicted high-risk areas and considering routine use of household animal surveys for risk mapping. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Multi-Scale Clustering of Lyme Disease Risk at the Expanding Leading Edge of the Range of Ixodes scapularis in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040603
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (12189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since its detection in Canada in the early 1990s, Ixodes scapularis, the primary tick vector of Lyme disease in eastern North America, has continued to expand northward. Estimates of the tick’s broad-scale distribution are useful for tracking the extent of the Lyme [...] Read more.
Since its detection in Canada in the early 1990s, Ixodes scapularis, the primary tick vector of Lyme disease in eastern North America, has continued to expand northward. Estimates of the tick’s broad-scale distribution are useful for tracking the extent of the Lyme disease risk zone; however, tick distribution may vary widely within this zone. Here, we investigated I. scapularis nymph distribution at three spatial scales across the Lyme disease emergence zone in southern Quebec, Canada. We collected ticks and compared the nymph densities among different woodlands and different plots and transects within the same woodland. Hot spot analysis highlighted significant nymph clustering at each spatial scale. In regression models, nymph abundance was associated with litter depth, humidity, and elevation, which contribute to a suitable habitat for ticks, but also with the distance from the trail and the type of trail, which could be linked to host distribution and human disturbance. Accounting for this heterogeneous nymph distribution at a fine spatial scale could help improve Lyme disease management strategies but also help people to understand the risk variation around them and to adopt appropriate behaviors, such as staying on the trail in infested parks to limit their exposure to the vector and associated pathogens. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Range Expansion of Tick Disease Vectors in North America: Implications for Spread of Tick-Borne Disease
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030478
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 3 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (921 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ticks are the major vectors of most disease-causing agents to humans, companion animals and wildlife. Moreover, ticks transmit a greater variety of pathogenic agents than any other blood-feeding arthropod. Ticks have been expanding their geographic ranges in recent decades largely due to climate [...] Read more.
Ticks are the major vectors of most disease-causing agents to humans, companion animals and wildlife. Moreover, ticks transmit a greater variety of pathogenic agents than any other blood-feeding arthropod. Ticks have been expanding their geographic ranges in recent decades largely due to climate change. Furthermore, tick populations in many areas of their past and even newly established localities have increased in abundance. These dynamic changes present new and increasing severe public health threats to humans, livestock and companion animals in areas where they were previously unknown or were considered to be of minor importance. Here in this review, the geographic status of four representative tick species are discussed in relation to these public health concerns, namely, the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, the Gulf Coast Tick, Amblyomma maculatum and the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Both biotic and abiotic factors that may influence future range expansion and successful colony formation in new habitats are discussed. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top