Special Issue "Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817). This special issue belongs to the section "Vaccines and Therapeutic Developments".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2022 | Viewed by 8049

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Benoît Jaulhac
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Les Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
Interests: Lyme disease; Bacterial zoonosis; Borrelia burgdorferi; Vector-borne disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ticks are excellent vectors for disease transmission. Vector-borne diseases have increased worldwide. Understanding tick ecology, disease transmission, diagnostics, and treatment is important to control tick-borne epidemics and potential pandemics.

For this Special Issue, we invite you to submit research articles, reviews, or short communications with a wide scope, including epidemiological data, species description and characterization, diagnostic assays, and vaccine development.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato prevalence in Ixodes ticks in the world
  • Impact of weather variations on Ixodes tick prevalence and on Borrelia infection rate.
  • Impact of the landscape and its modifications on Ixodes tick prevalence and Borrelia infection rate.
  • Lyme borreliosis: is there an increase of incidence?
  • Veterinarian borreliosis: which domestic animal species are infected and which become sick?
  • Importance of studying the relations between Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and wild animals to better understand Lyme borreliosis 
  • Borrelia miyamotoi infection: similarities and differences with respect to Lyme borreliosis 
  • Why is tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) geographic repartition different from that of Lyme borreliosis?
  • Emerging microbes in human tick-borne diseases
  • Babesiosis: current problems in the management of patients
  • News tools for Lyme borreliosis diagnosis: what can we expect from them?
  • Current knowledge on the physiopathology of Lyme arthritis
  • Current knowledge on the physiopathology of neuroborreliosis
  • Chronic Lyme diseases manifestations: myths and realities
  • Current knowledge on the physiopathology of acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans
  • Is post-Lyme disease syndrome a chronic Lyme neuroborreliosis?
  • Tick-borne disease vaccine: current situation and future
  • New strategies to treat Lyme borreliosis: what can we expect?

We invite colleagues from all disciplines, including clinical and basic research, to contribute to this Special Issue.

Prof. Benoît Jaulhac
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Pathogens 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 2200 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

  • Ixodes ticks
  • Borrelia infection
  • Lyme borreliosis
  • Lyme borreliosis Hard tick-borne diseases

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Article
Bacterial Pathogens and Symbionts Harboured by Ixodes ricinus Ticks Parasitising Red Squirrels in the United Kingdom
Pathogens 2021, 10(4), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10040458 - 11 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) are native to most of Eurasia; in much of the United Kingdom, they have been supplanted by the non-native grey squirrel, and are considered an endangered species. Very little is known about the range of tick-borne pathogens [...] Read more.
Red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) are native to most of Eurasia; in much of the United Kingdom, they have been supplanted by the non-native grey squirrel, and are considered an endangered species. Very little is known about the range of tick-borne pathogens to which UK red squirrels are exposed. As part of trap-and-release surveys examining prevalence of Mycobacterium spp. in red squirrel populations on two UK islands, Ixodes ricinus ticks were removed from squirrels and PCR screened for Borrelia spp., intracellular arthropod-borne bacteria and the parasitic wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri. At both sites, the most commonly encountered tick-transmitted bacterium was Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (overall minimum prevalence 12.7%), followed by Anaplasma phagocytophilum (overall minimum prevalence 1.6%). Single ticks infected with Spiroplasma were found at both sites, and single ticks infected with Borrelia miyamotoi or an Ehrlichia sp. at one site. Ticks harbouring Wolbachia (overall minimum prevalence 15.2%) were all positive for I. hookeri. Our study shows that UK red squirrels are potentially exposed to a variety of bacterial pathogens via feeding ticks. The effects on the health and survival of this already vulnerable wildlife species are unknown, and further studies are needed to evaluate the threat posed to red squirrels by Borrelia and other tick-borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases)
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Article
Exploratory Space–Time Analyses of Reported Lyme Borreliosis Cases in France, 2016–2019
Pathogens 2021, 10(4), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10040444 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 881
Abstract
In recent decades, the incidence of Lyme borreliosis (LB) in Europe seems to have increased, underpinning a growing public health concern. LB surveillance systems across the continent are heterogeneous, and the spatial and temporal patterns of LB reports have been little documented. In [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the incidence of Lyme borreliosis (LB) in Europe seems to have increased, underpinning a growing public health concern. LB surveillance systems across the continent are heterogeneous, and the spatial and temporal patterns of LB reports have been little documented. In this study, we explored the spatio-temporal patterns of LB cases reported in France from 2016 to 2019, to describe high-risk clusters and generate hypotheses on their occurrence. The space–time K-function and the Kulldorf’s scan statistic were implemented separately for each year to evaluate space–time interaction between reported cases and searching clusters. The results show that the main spatial clusters, of radius size up to 97 km, were reported in central and northeastern France each year. In 2017–2019, spatial clusters were also identified in more southern areas (near the Alps and the Mediterranean coast). Spatio-temporal clustering occurred between May and August, over one-month to three-month windows in 2016–2017 and in 2018–2019. A strong spatio-temporal interaction was identified in 2018 within 16 km and seven days, suggesting a potential local and intense pathogen transmission process. Ongoing improved surveillance and accounting for animal hosts, vectors, meteorological factors and human behaviors are keys to further elucidate LB spatio-temporal patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases)
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Article
Circulation of Babesia Species and Their Exposure to Humans through Ixodes ricinus
Pathogens 2021, 10(4), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10040386 - 24 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1941
Abstract
Human babesiosis in Europe has been attributed to infection with Babesia divergens and, to a lesser extent, with Babesia venatorum and Babesia microti, which are all transmitted to humans through a bite of Ixodes ricinus. These Babesia species circulate in the Netherlands, [...] Read more.
Human babesiosis in Europe has been attributed to infection with Babesia divergens and, to a lesser extent, with Babesia venatorum and Babesia microti, which are all transmitted to humans through a bite of Ixodes ricinus. These Babesia species circulate in the Netherlands, but autochthonous human babesiosis cases have not been reported so far. To gain more insight into the natural sources of these Babesia species, their presence in reservoir hosts and in I. ricinus was examined. Moreover, part of the ticks were tested for co-infections with other tick borne pathogens. In a cross-sectional study, qPCR-detection was used to determine the presence of Babesia species in 4611 tissue samples from 27 mammalian species and 13 bird species. Reverse line blotting (RLB) and qPCR detection of Babesia species were used to test 25,849 questing I. ricinus. Fragments of the 18S rDNA and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene from PCR-positive isolates were sequenced for confirmation and species identification and species-specific PCR reactions were performed on samples with suspected mixed infections. Babesia microti was found in two widespread rodent species: Myodes glareolus and Apodemus sylvaticus, whereas B. divergens was detected in the geographically restricted Cervus elaphus and Bison bonasus, and occasionally in free-ranging Ovis aries. B. venatorum was detected in the ubiquitous Capreolus capreolus, and occasionally in free-ranging O. aries. Species-specific PCR revealed co-infections in C. capreolus and C. elaphus, resulting in higher prevalence of B. venatorum and B. divergens than disclosed by qPCR detection, followed by 18S rDNA and COI sequencing. The non-zoonotic Babesia species found were Babesia capreoli, Babesia vulpes, Babesia sp. deer clade, and badger-associated Babesia species. The infection rate of zoonotic Babesia species in questing I. ricinus ticks was higher for Babesia clade I (2.6%) than Babesia clade X (1.9%). Co-infection of B. microti with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Neoehrlichia mikurensis in questing nymphs occurred more than expected, which reflects their mutual reservoir hosts, and suggests the possibility of co-transmission of these three pathogens to humans during a tick bite. The ubiquitous spread and abundance of B. microti and B. venatorum in their reservoir hosts and questing ticks imply some level of human exposure through tick bites. The restricted distribution of the wild reservoir hosts for B. divergens and its low infection rate in ticks might contribute to the absence of reported autochthonous cases of human babesiosis in the Netherlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases)
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Review

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Review
Ecology of Ixodes pacificus Ticks and Associated Pathogens in the Western United States
Pathogens 2022, 11(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11010089 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1046
Abstract
Lyme disease is the most important vector-borne disease in the United States and is increasing in incidence and geographic range. In the Pacific west, the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus Cooley and Kohls, 1943 is an important vector of the causative agent of [...] Read more.
Lyme disease is the most important vector-borne disease in the United States and is increasing in incidence and geographic range. In the Pacific west, the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus Cooley and Kohls, 1943 is an important vector of the causative agent of Lyme disease, the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. Ixodes pacificus life cycle is expected to be more than a year long, and all three stages (larva, nymph, and adult) overlap in spring. The optimal habitat consists of forest cover, cooler temperatures, and annual precipitation in the range of 200–500 mm. Therefore, the coastal areas of California, Oregon, and Washington are well suited for these ticks. Immature stages commonly parasitize Western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) and gray squirrels (Sciurus griseus), while adults often feed on deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and black-tailed deer (Odocoileus h. columbianus). Ixodes pacificus carry several pathogens of human significance, such as Borrelia burgdorferi, Bartonella, and Rickettsiales. These pathogens are maintained in the environment by many hosts, including small mammals, birds, livestock, and domestic animals. Although a great deal of work has been carried out on Ixodes ticks and the pathogens they transmit, understanding I. pacificus ecology outside California still lags. Additionally, the dynamic vector–host–pathogen system means that new factors will continue to arise and shift the epidemiological patterns within specific areas. Here, we review the ecology of I. pacificus and the pathogens this tick is known to carry to identify gaps in our knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases)
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Review
Methodological Quality Assessment with the AGREE II Scale and a Comparison of European and American Guidelines for the Treatment of Lyme Borreliosis: A Systematic Review
Pathogens 2021, 10(8), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10080972 - 31 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1035
Abstract
Background: Most European and American countries recently updated their guidelines on Lyme borreliosis (LB). The aim of this study was to provide a comparative overview of existing guidelines on the treatment of LB in Europe and America and to assess the methodological quality [...] Read more.
Background: Most European and American countries recently updated their guidelines on Lyme borreliosis (LB). The aim of this study was to provide a comparative overview of existing guidelines on the treatment of LB in Europe and America and to assess the methodological quality of their elaboration. Methods: A systematic search was carried out in MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and the national databases of scientific societies from 2014 to 2020. Quality was assessed by two independent reviewers using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) tool. Results: Twelve guidelines were included. The scores for the AGREE II domains (median ± IQR) were: overall assessment 100 ± 22, scope and purpose 85 ± 46, stakeholder involvement 88 ± 48, rigour of development 67 ± 35, clarity of presentation 81 ± 36, applicability 73 ± 52 and editorial independence 79% ± 54%. Cohen’s weighted kappa showed a high agreement (K = 0.90, 95%CI 0.84–0.96). Guidelines were quite homogeneous regarding the recommended molecules (mostly doxycycline in the first intention and ceftriaxone in the second intention), their duration (10 to 28 days), and their dosage. The differences were due to the lack of well-conducted comparative trials. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) guidelines were the only ones to suggest longer antibiotics based on an expert consensus. Conclusion: European and American guidelines for the treatment of LB were quite homogeneous but based on moderate- to low-evidence studies. Well-conducted comparative trials are needed to assess the best molecules, the optimal duration and the most effective doses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases)
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Other

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Systematic Review
Human Co-Infections between Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. and Other Ixodes-Borne Microorganisms: A Systematic Review
Pathogens 2022, 11(3), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11030282 - 23 Feb 2022
Viewed by 723
Abstract
When it comes to tick-borne diseases, co-infections are often mentioned. This concept includes several entities. On the one hand, tick vectors or vertebrate reservoir host can harbor several microorganisms that can be pathogenic for humans. On the other hand, human co-infections can also [...] Read more.
When it comes to tick-borne diseases, co-infections are often mentioned. This concept includes several entities. On the one hand, tick vectors or vertebrate reservoir host can harbor several microorganisms that can be pathogenic for humans. On the other hand, human co-infections can also be understood in different ways, ranging from seropositivity without clinical symptoms to co-disease, i.e., the simultaneous clinical expression of infections by two tick-borne microorganisms. The latter, although regularly speculated, is not often reported. Hence, we conducted a systematic review on co-infections between B. burgdorferi s.l., the etiological agent of Lyme borreliosis, and other microorganisms potentially transmitted to humans by Ixodes spp. ticks. A total of 68 relevant articles were included, presenting 655 cases of possible co-infections. Most cases of co-infections corresponded to patients with one tick-borne disease and presenting antibody against another tick-borne microorganism. Co-disease was particularly frequent in two situations: patients with clinical symptoms of high fever and erythema migrans (EM), and patients with neurological symptoms linked to the TBEv or a neuroborreliosis. No impact on severity was evidenced. Further studies are needed to better appreciate the frequency and the impact of co-infections between several tick-borne microorganisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Hard Tick-Borne Diseases)
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