Special Issue "Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Samantha M. Wisely
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, 110 Newins-Ziegler Hall, PO Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Interests: molecular ecology; wildlife and vector-borne disease ecology; spatial ecology; wildlife biology
Prof. Dr. Gregory Glass
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Geography Department and Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, 3141 Turlington Hall, P.O. Box 117315, USA
Interests: medical geography; risk factor analysis; vector-borne and zoonotic diseases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last 20 years, tick-borne pathogens have been increasingly recognized as a threat to humans, domestic animals and wildlife. At the same time, an increasing number of non-native ticks with the potential to carry exotic pathogens have been observed. The discovery of reoccuring, emerging or novel pathogens and their tick vectors is possible due to surveillance programs which are essential for timely and effective responses. This Special Issue covers advances in surveillance techniques and theory, results of surveillance efforts and models that use surveillance data on tick-borne pathogens and the ticks that carry them.

Prof. Dr. Samantha M. Wisely
Prof. Dr. Gregory Glass
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. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1200 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

  • emerging infectious diseases
  • ixodid ticks
  • surveillance
  • tick-borne pathogens

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

Open AccessEditorial
Advancing the Science of Tick and Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance in the United States
Insects 2019, 10(10), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10100361 - 19 Oct 2019
Abstract
Globally, vector-borne diseases are an increasing public health burden; in the United States, tick-borne diseases have tripled in the last three years. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the need for resilience to the increasing vector-borne disease burden [...] Read more.
Globally, vector-borne diseases are an increasing public health burden; in the United States, tick-borne diseases have tripled in the last three years. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the need for resilience to the increasing vector-borne disease burden and has called for increased partnerships and sustained networks to identify and respond to the most pressing challenges that face vector-borne disease management, including increased surveillance. To increase applied research, develop communities of practice, and enhance workforce development, the CDC has created five regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-borne Disease. These Centers are a partnership of public health agencies, vector control groups, academic institutions, and industries. This special issue on tick and tick-borne disease surveillance is a collection of research articles on multiple aspects of surveillance from authors that are affiliated with or funded by the CDC Centers of Excellence. This body of work illustrates a community-based system of research by which participants share common problems and use integrated methodologies to produce outputs and effect outcomes that benefit human, animal and environmental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of NEON Data to Model Spatio-Temporal Tick Dynamics in Florida
Insects 2019, 10(10), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10100321 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In 2013, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) started collecting 30-year multi-faceted ecological data at various spatial and temporal scales across the US including ticks. Understanding the abundance and dynamics of disease vectors under changing environmental conditions in the long-term is important to [...] Read more.
In 2013, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) started collecting 30-year multi-faceted ecological data at various spatial and temporal scales across the US including ticks. Understanding the abundance and dynamics of disease vectors under changing environmental conditions in the long-term is important to societies, but sustained long-term collection efforts are sparse. Using hard-bodied tick data collected by NEON, the vegetation and atmospheric data and a statistical state-space model, which included a detection probability component, this study estimated the abundance of tick nymphs and adult ticks across a Florida NEON location. It took into account the spatial and temporal variation, and factors affecting detection. Its purpose was to test the applicability of data collected thus far and evaluate tick abundance. The study found an increase in tick abundance at this Florida location, and was able to explain spatial and temporal variability in abundance and detection. This approach shows the potential of NEON data. The NEON data collection is unique in scale, and promises to be of great value to understand tick and disease dynamics across the US. From a public health perspective, the detection probability of vectors can be interpreted as the probability of encountering that vector, making these types of analyses useful for estimating disease risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Detection of Rickettsiae, Borreliae, and Ehrlichiae in Ticks Collected from Walker County, Texas, 2017–2018
Insects 2019, 10(10), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10100315 - 25 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cases of tick-borne diseases, including spotted fever rickettsioses, borreliosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis, in the United States and territories have more than doubled from 2004 to 2016 and account for 77% of all vector-borne disease reports. In an effort to inform control efforts, [...] Read more.
Cases of tick-borne diseases, including spotted fever rickettsioses, borreliosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis, in the United States and territories have more than doubled from 2004 to 2016 and account for 77% of all vector-borne disease reports. In an effort to inform control efforts, the presence of tick-borne pathogens and their vectors was assessed in a recreational park in Walker County, Texas. Here we report data from questing ticks collected on three dates from June 2017 to June 2018. The majority of ticks collected were Amblyomma americanum (96.69%) followed by three additional tick species: Dermacentor variabilis (2.59%), Ixodes scapularis (0.52%), and A. maculatum (0.21%). Ticks were pooled and tested for molecular evidence of bacterial and viral pathogens, respectively. All of the 68 pools of A. americanum had molecular evidence of the spotted fever group rickettsia, Rickettsia amblyommatis. Additionally, six (8.82%) of the A. americanum pools contained sequences matching Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the pathogen responsible for human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, and 11 (16.18%) for E. ewingii. Three of the A. americanum pools demonstrated evidence of Borrelia lonestari. The presence of etiologic agents of known human disease in this study merits the continued surveillance efforts of ticks and their pathogens in areas where they could pose risks to public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Open AccessArticle
A Survey of Tick-Borne Bacterial Pathogens in Florida
Insects 2019, 10(9), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10090297 - 13 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Within the past three decades, new bacterial etiological agents of tick-borne disease have been discovered in the southeastern U.S., and the number of reported tick-borne pathogen infections has increased. In Florida, few systematic studies have been conducted to determine the presence of tick-borne [...] Read more.
Within the past three decades, new bacterial etiological agents of tick-borne disease have been discovered in the southeastern U.S., and the number of reported tick-borne pathogen infections has increased. In Florida, few systematic studies have been conducted to determine the presence of tick-borne bacterial pathogens. This investigation examined the distribution and presence of tick-borne bacterial pathogens in Florida. Ticks were collected by flagging at 41 field sites, spanning the climatic regions of mainland Florida. DNA was extracted individually from 1608 ticks and screened for Anaplasma, Borrelia, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia using conventional PCR and primers that amplified multiple species for each genus. PCR positive samples were Sanger sequenced. Four species of ticks were collected: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. Within these ticks, six bacterial species were identified: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia lonestari, Ehrlichia ewingii, Rickettsia amblyommatis, Rickettsia andeanae, Rickettsia parkeri, and Rickettsia endosymbionts. Pathogenic Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia species were all detected in the North and North-Central Florida counties; however, we found only moderate concordance between the distribution of ticks infected with pathogenic bacteria and human cases of tick-borne diseases in Florida. Given the diversity and numerous bacterial species detected in ticks in Florida, further investigations should be conducted to identify regional hotspots of tick-borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Passive Animal Surveillance to Identify Ticks in Wisconsin, 2011–2017
Insects 2019, 10(9), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10090289 - 08 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The introduction of new tick species poses a risk to human and animal health. Systematic active surveillance programs are expensive and uncommon. We evaluated a passive animal surveillance program as a monitoring tool to document the geographic distribution and host associations of ticks [...] Read more.
The introduction of new tick species poses a risk to human and animal health. Systematic active surveillance programs are expensive and uncommon. We evaluated a passive animal surveillance program as a monitoring tool to document the geographic distribution and host associations of ticks in Wisconsin. Passive surveillance partners included veterinary medical clinics, domestic animal shelters, and wildlife rehabilitation centers from 35 of the 72 Wisconsin counties. A total of 10,136 tick specimens were collected from 2325 animals from July 2011 to November 2017 and included Dermacentor variabilis Say (29.7% of all ticks), Ixodes texanus Banks (25.5%), Ixodes scapularis Say (19.5%), Haemaphysalis leporispalustris Packard (13.8%), Ixodes cookei Packard (4.4%), and Dermacentor albipictus Packard (1.7%). Less common species (<1% of collection) included Ixodes dentatus Marx, Ixodes sculptus Neumann, Ixodes marxi Banks, Amblyomma americanum Linnaeus, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus Latreille. Of the 2325 animals that were examined, most were domestic dogs (53%), eastern cottontail rabbits (16%), domestic cats (15%), and North American raccoons (11%). An additional 21 mammal and 11 bird species were examined at least once during the six years of the study. New county records are summarized for each species. Public health, academic, and veterinary and animal care partners formed a community of practice enabling effective statewide tick surveillance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Standardized Ixodid Tick Survey in Mainland Florida
Insects 2019, 10(8), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10080235 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
A statewide survey of questing ixodid ticks in mainland Florida was developed consistent with U.S. CDC standards to maximize the amount of epidemiologic and environmental data gathered. Survey sites were stratified by climatic zones and proportional to recognized land cover categories. A total [...] Read more.
A statewide survey of questing ixodid ticks in mainland Florida was developed consistent with U.S. CDC standards to maximize the amount of epidemiologic and environmental data gathered. Survey sites were stratified by climatic zones and proportional to recognized land cover categories. A total of 560 transects on 41 sites within the state were sampled repeatedly by flagging between 2015 and 2018. Four tick species were collected; Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Ixodes scapularis and Dermacentor variabilis. All species were more commonly found in northern and central regions of the state than in southern and western regions. Adult I. scapularis were active from autumn through spring and complementary to adult A. americanum and D. variabilis. Standardized survey methods help reduce sampling biases and better characterize risk from the species surveyed. However, differences in the attractiveness of collection methods for different tick species makes cross-species comparisons a continuing challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Deciduous Leaf Litter and Snow Presence on Nymphal Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) Overwintering Survival in Coastal New England, USA
Insects 2019, 10(8), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10080227 - 30 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis Say) are the vector for pathogens that cause more cases of human disease than any other arthropod. Lyme disease is the most common, caused by the bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt, and Brenner) in the [...] Read more.
Blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis Say) are the vector for pathogens that cause more cases of human disease than any other arthropod. Lyme disease is the most common, caused by the bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt, and Brenner) in the northeastern United States. Further knowledge of seasonal effects on survival is important for management and modeling of both blacklegged ticks and tick-borne diseases. The focus of our study was on the impact of environmental factors on overwintering success of nymphal blacklegged ticks. In a three-year field study conducted in Connecticut and Maine, we determined that ground-level conditions play an important role in unfed nymphal overwintering survival. Ticks in plots where leaf litter and snow accumulation were unmanipulated had significantly greater survival compared to those where leaf litter was removed (p = 0.045) and where both leaf litter and snow were removed (p = 0.008). Additionally, we determined that the key overwintering predictors for nymphal blacklegged tick survival were the mean and mean minimum temperatures within a year. The findings of this research can be utilized in both small- and large-scale management of blacklegged ticks to potentially reduce the risk and occurrence of tick-borne diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Leveraging the Expertise of the New Jersey Mosquito Control Community to Jump Start Standardized Tick Surveillance
Insects 2019, 10(8), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10080219 - 24 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Despite the rising incidence of tick-borne diseases (TBD) in the northeastern United States (US), information and expertise needed to assess risk, inform the public and respond proactively is highly variable across states. Standardized and well-designed tick surveillance by trained personnel can facilitate the [...] Read more.
Despite the rising incidence of tick-borne diseases (TBD) in the northeastern United States (US), information and expertise needed to assess risk, inform the public and respond proactively is highly variable across states. Standardized and well-designed tick surveillance by trained personnel can facilitate the development of useful risk maps and help target resources, but requires nontrivial start-up costs. To address this challenge, we tested whether existing personnel in New Jersey’s 21 county mosquito control agencies could be trained and interested to participate in a one-day collection of American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis), a presumably widespread species never before surveyed in this state. A workshop was held offering training in basic tick biology, identification, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for surveillance, followed by a one-day simultaneous collection of D. variabilis across the state (the “NJ Tick Blitz”). In total, 498 D. variabilis were collected from 21 counties and follow-up participant surveys demonstrated an increase in knowledge and interest in ticks: 41.7% of respondents reported collecting ticks outside the Tick Blitz. We hope that the success of this initiative may provide a template for researchers and officials in other states with tick-borne disease concerns to obtain baseline tick surveillance data by training and partnering with existing personnel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Modeling Potential Habitat for Amblyomma Tick Species in California
Insects 2019, 10(7), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070201 - 08 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The Amblyomma genus of ticks comprises species that are aggressive human biters and vectors of pathogens. Numerous species in the genus are undergoing rapid range expansion. Amblyomma ticks have occasionally been introduced into California, but as yet, no established populations have been reported [...] Read more.
The Amblyomma genus of ticks comprises species that are aggressive human biters and vectors of pathogens. Numerous species in the genus are undergoing rapid range expansion. Amblyomma ticks have occasionally been introduced into California, but as yet, no established populations have been reported in the state. Because California has high ecological diversity and is a transport hub for potentially parasitized humans and animals, the risk of future Amblyomma establishment may be high. We used ecological niche modeling to predict areas in California suitable for four tick species that pose high risk to humans: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Amblyomma cajennense and Amblyomma mixtum. We collected presence data in the Americas for each species from the published literature and online databases. Twenty-three climatic and ecological variables were used in a MaxEnt algorithm to predict the distribution of each species. The minimum temperature of the coldest month was an important predictor for all four species due to high mortality of Amblyomma at low temperatures. Areas in California appear to be ecologically suitable for A. americanum, A. maculatum, and A. cajennense, but not A. mixtum. These findings could inform targeted surveillance prior to an invasion event, to allow mitigation actions to be quickly implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Modeling the Distribution of Medically Important Tick Species in Florida
Insects 2019, 10(7), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070190 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The lone star (Amblyomma americanum), black-legged (Ixodes scapularis) and American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) are species of great public health importance as they are competent vectors of several notable pathogens. While the regional distributions of these species [...] Read more.
The lone star (Amblyomma americanum), black-legged (Ixodes scapularis) and American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) are species of great public health importance as they are competent vectors of several notable pathogens. While the regional distributions of these species are well characterized, more localized distribution estimates are sparse. We used records of field collected ticks and an ensemble modeling approach to predict habitat suitability for each of these species in Florida. Environmental variables capturing climatic extremes were common contributors to habitat suitability. Most frequently, annual precipitation (Bio12), mean temperature of the driest quarter (Bio9), minimum temperature of the coldest month (Bio6), and mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were included in the final models for each species. Agreement between the modeling algorithms used in this study was high and indicated the distribution of suitable habitat for all three species was reduced at lower latitudes. These findings are important for raising awareness of the potential for tick-borne pathogens in Florida. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop