Thomas Jaenson works at the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University. He does research on ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne diseases.His current project is 'Vector ecology of Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus.'
Skills and Expertise
- Professor in Medical Entomology
- Member of the Tick Consortium of the VectorNet project carried out under the auspices of Avia-GIS (Director: Guy Hendrickx), ECDC and EFSA, since 2014; and a member of ESGBOR. Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, London
Jan 1986 - Dec 2004
Uppsala University, Ministry of Public Health, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, and PDRI-Zona 1, Centro Olof Palme, Bula, Guinea-Bissau
- Canchungo, Cacheu, Guinea-Bissau
- Principal Investigator, Project Leader
- Control of Anopheles and human malaria by permethrin-impregnated bed nets
Mar 1975 - Nov 1978
PhD: Uppsala University
Field of study
- Entomology, Medical Entomology
Jan 1974 - Dec 1974
Roslagstulls Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
Field of study
- DTM, Diploma in Tropical Medicine, Nutrition and Child Health
Research Items (152)
This paper gives an overview of what was known in 1991 about the ecology and epidemiology of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Europe and North America.
Background: Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is one tick-transmitted disease where the human incidence has increased in some European regions during the last two decades. We aim to find the most important factors causing the increasing incidence of human TBE in Sweden. Based on a review of published data we presume that certain temperature-related variables and the population densities of transmission hosts, i.e. small mammals, and of primary tick maintenance hosts, i.e. cervids and lagomorphs, of the TBE virus vector Ixodes ricinus, are among the potentially most important factors affecting the TBE incidence. Therefore, we compare hunting data of the major tick maintenance hosts and two of their important predators, and four climatic variables with the annual numbers of human cases of neuroinvasive TBE. Data for six Swedish regions where human TBE incidence is high or has recently increased are examined by a time-series analysis. Results from the six regions are combined using a meta-analytical method. Results: With a one-year time lag, the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), mountain hare (Lepus timidus) and European hare (Lepus europaeus) showed positive covariance; the Eurasian elk (moose, Alces alces) and fallow deer (Dama dama) negative covariance; whereas the wild boar (Sus scrofa), lynx (Lynx lynx), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the four climate parameters showed no significant covariance with TBE incidence. All game species combined showed positive covariance. Conclusions: The epidemiology of TBE varies with time and geography and depends on numerous factors, i.a. climate, virus genotypes, and densities of vectors, tick maintenance hosts and transmission hosts. This study suggests that the increased availability of deer to I. ricinus over large areas of potential tick habitats in southern Sweden increased the density and range of I. ricinus and created new TBEV foci, which resulted in increased incidence of human TBE. New foci may be established by TBE virus-infected birds, or by birds or migrating mammals infested with TBEV-infected ticks. Generally, persistence of TBE virus foci appears to require presence of transmission-competent small mammals, especially mice (Apodemus spp.) or bank voles (Myodes glareolus).
Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus RNA was detected in immature Hyalomma rufipes ticks infesting northward migratory birds caught in the North Mediterranean Basin. This finding suggests a role for birds in the ecology of the Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus and a potential mechanism for dissemination to novel regions. Increased surveillance is warranted. © 2018, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.
Hoogstraal (1958) and Filippova (1966) provide detailed descriptions of the morphology of the different stages of A. vespertilionis.
Ixodes persulcatus, the taiga tick, is a three-host tick. Under laboratory conditions (20 °C, 12 h light/dark cycle) the life-cycle takes about 250 days (Konnai et al. in Jpn J Vet Res 55:85–92, 2008). It is a generalist tick, feeding on a variety of different animal species, ranging from reptiles to birds to mammals. The immature developmental stages prefer to feed on small and medium-sized mammals and birds, while the females parasitize large mammals, such as deer, cattle, sheep or hares (Gray in Exp Appl Acarol 22:249–258, 1998).
Haemaphysalis punctata is a three-host tick with a natural life cycle of 1–3 years (Nosek et al. in Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 36:49–59, 1967; Nosek in Zeitschrift für Parasitenk, 37:198–210, 1971; Liebisch et al. in Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, 89:477–480, 1976; Farkas et al. in Ticks and tick-borne diseases: geographical distribution and control strategies in the Euro-Asian region, CABI, Boston, pp 6–26, 2012).
Background: The tick species Ixodes ricinus and I. persulcatus are of exceptional medical importance in the western and eastern parts, respectively, of the Palaearctic region. In Russia and Finland the range of I. persulcatus has recently increased. In Finland the first records of I. persulcatus are from 2004. The apparent expansion of its range in Finland prompted us to investigate if I. persulcatus also occurs in Sweden. Methods: Dog owners and hunters in the coastal areas of northern Sweden provided information about localities where ticks could be present. In May-August 2015 we used the cloth-dragging method in 36 localities potentially harbouring ticks in the Bothnian Bay area, province Norrbotten (NB) of northern Sweden. Further to the south in the provinces Västerbotten (VB) and Uppland (UP) eight localities were similarly investigated. Results: Ixodes persulcatus was detected in 9 of 36 field localities in the Bothnian Bay area. Nymphs, adult males and adult females (n = 46 ticks) of I. persulcatus were present mainly in Alnus incana - Sorbus aucuparia - Picea abies - Pinus sylvestris vegetation communities on islands in the Bothnian Bay. Some of these I. persulcatus populations seem to be the most northerly populations so far recorded of this species. Dog owners asserted that their dogs became tick-infested on these islands for the first time 7-8 years ago. Moose (Alces alces), hares (Lepus timidus), domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and ground-feeding birds are the most likely carriers dispersing I. persulcatus in this area. All ticks (n = 124) from the more southern provinces of VB and UP were identified as I. ricinus. Conclusions: The geographical range of the taiga tick has recently expanded into northern Sweden. Increased information about prophylactic, anti-tick measures should be directed to people living in or visiting the coastal areas and islands of the Baltic Bay.
Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (CNM; family Anaplasmataceae) was recently recognized as a potential tick-borne human pathogen. The presence of CNM in mammals, in host-seeking Ixodes ticks and in ticks attached to mammals and birds has been reported recently. We investigated the presence of CNM in ornithophagous ticks from migrating birds. A total of 1,150 ticks (582 nymphs, 548 larvae, 18 undetermined ticks and two adult females) collected from 5,365 birds captured in south-eastern Sweden was screened for CNM by molecular methods. The birds represented 65 different species, of which 35 species were infested with one or more ticks. Based on a combination of morphological and molecular species identification, the majority of the ticks were identified as Ixodes ricinus. Samples were initially screened by real-time PCR targeting the CNM 16S rRNA gene, and confirmed by a second real-time PCR targeting the groEL gene. For positive samples, a 1260 base pair fragment of the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced. Based upon bacterial gene sequence identification, 2.1% (24/1150) of the analysed samples were CNM-positive. Twenty-two out of 24 CNM-positive ticks were molecularly identified as I. ricinus nymphs, and the remaining two were identified as I. ricinus based on morphology. The overall CNM prevalence in I. ricinus nymphs was 4.2%. None of the 548 tested larvae was positive. CNM-positive ticks were collected from 10 different bird species. The highest CNM-prevalences were recorded in nymphs collected from common redpoll (Carduelis flammea, 3/7), thrush nightingale (Luscinia luscinia, 2/29) and dunnock (Prunella modularis, 1/17). The 16S rRNA sequences obtained in this study were all identical to each other and to three previously reported European strains, two of which were obtained from humans. It is concluded that ornithophagous ticks may be infected with CNM and that birds most likely can disperse CNM-infected ticks over large geographical areas.
Background A few billion birds migrate annually between their breeding grounds in Europe and their wintering grounds in Africa. Many bird species are tick-infested, and as a result of their innate migratory behavior, they contribute significantly to the geographic distribution of pathogens, including spotted fever rickettsiae. The aim of the present study was to characterize, in samples from two consecutive years, the potential role of migrant birds captured in Europe as disseminators of Rickettsia-infected ticks. Methods Ticks were collected from a total of 14,789 birds during their seasonal migration northwards in spring 2009 and 2010 at bird observatories on two Mediterranean islands: Capri and Antikythira. All ticks were subjected to RNA extraction followed by cDNA synthesis and individually assayed with a real-time PCR targeting the citrate synthase (gltA) gene. For species identification of Rickettsia, multiple genes were sequenced. Results Three hundred and ninety-eight (2.7%) of all captured birds were tick-infested; some birds carried more than one tick. A total number of 734 ticks were analysed of which 353 ± 1 (48%) were Rickettsia-positive; 96% were infected with Rickettsia aeschlimannii and 4% with Rickettsia africae or unidentified Rickettsia species. The predominant tick taxon, Hyalomma marginatum sensu lato constituted 90% (n = 658) of the ticks collected. The remaining ticks were Ixodes frontalis, Amblyomma sp., Haemaphysalis sp., Rhipicephalus sp. and unidentified ixodids. Most ticks were nymphs (66%) followed by larvae (27%) and adult female ticks (0.5%). The majority (65%) of ticks was engorged and nearly all ticks contained visible blood. Conclusions Migratory birds appear to have a great impact on the dissemination of Rickettsia-infected ticks, some of which may originate from distant locations. The potential ecological, medical and veterinary implications of such Rickettsia infections need further examination.
In northern Europe, the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) of the European subtype is usually transmitted to humans by the common tick Ixodes ricinus. The aims of the present study are (i) to obtain up-to-date information on the TBEV prevalence in host-seeking I. ricinus in southern and central Sweden; (ii) to compile and review all relevant published records on the prevalence of TBEV in ticks in northern Europe; and (iii) to analyse and try to explain how the TBE virus can be maintained in natural foci despite an apparently low TBEV infection prevalence in the vector population. To estimate the mean minimum infection rate (MIR) of TBEV in I. ricinus in northern Europe (i.e. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland) we reviewed all published TBEV prevalence data for host-seeking I. ricinus collected during 1958-2011. Moreover, we collected 2,074 nymphs and 906 adults of I. ricinus from 29 localities in Sweden during 2008. These ticks were screened for TBEV by RT-PCR. The MIR for TBEV in nymphal and adult I. ricinus was 0.28% for northern Europe and 0.23% for southern Sweden. The infection prevalence of TBEV was significantly lower in nymphs (0.10%) than in adult ticks (0.55%). At a well-known TBEV-endemic locality, Toro island south-east of Stockholm, the TBEV prevalence (MIR) was 0.51% in nymphs and 4.48% in adults of I. ricinus. If the ratio of nymphs to adult ticks in the TBEV-analysed sample differs from that in the I. ricinus population in the field, the MIR obtained will not necessarily reflect the TBEV prevalence in the field. The relatively low TBEV prevalence in the potential vector population recorded in most studies may partly be due to: (i) inclusion of uninfected ticks from the 'uninfected areas' surrounding the TBEV endemic foci; (ii) inclusion of an unrepresentative, too large proportion of immature ticks, compared to adult ticks, in the analysed tick pools; and (iii) shortcomings in the laboratory techniques used to detect the virus that may be present in a very low concentration or undetectable state in ticks which have not recently fed.
Mosquitoes are the primary vectors of West Nile virus (WNV). Ticks have, however, been suggested to be potential reservoirs of WNV. In order to investigate their role in the spread of the virus, ticks, which had been collected from birds migrating northwards from Africa to Europe, were analyzed for the potential presence of WNV-RNA. On the Mediterranean islands Capri and Antikythira a total of 14,824 birds were captured and investigated from which 747 ticks were collected. Most of the identified ticks (93%) were nymphs and larvae of Hyalomma marginatum sensu lato, most of which were or appear to be Hyalomma rufipes. Of these ticks 729 were individually screened for WNV-RNA. None of the ticks was found to be WNV positive. Thus, there was no evidence that Hyalomma marginatum s.l. ticks play a role in the spread of WNV from Africa to Europe.
The common tick Ixodes ricinus is the main vector in Europe of the tick-borne encephalitis virus and of several species of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, which are the etiological agents of Lyme borreliosis. The risk to contract bites of I. ricinus is dependent on many factors including the behaviour of both ticks and people. The tick's site of attachment on the human body and the duration of tick attachment may be of clinical importance. Data on I. ricinus ticks, which were found attached to the skin of people, were analysed regarding potentially stage-specific differences in location of attachment sites, duration of tick attachment (= feeding duration), seasonal and geographical distribution of tick infestation in relation to age and gender of the tick-infested hosts. During 2008-2009, 1770 tick-bitten persons from Sweden and the Aland Islands removed 2110 I. ricinus ticks. Participants provided information about the date of tick detection and location on their body of each attached tick. Ticks were identified to species and developmental stage. The feeding duration of each nymph and adult female tick was microscopically estimated based on the scutal and the coxal index. In 2008, participants were tick-bitten from mid-May to mid-October and in 2009 from early April to early November. The infestation pattern of the nymphs was bimodal whereas that of the adult female ticks was unimodal with a peak in late summer. Tick attachment site on the human body was associated with stage of the tick and gender of the human host. Site of attachment seemed to influence the duration of tick feeding. Overall, 63% of nymphs and adult female ticks were detected and removed more than 24 hours after attachment. Older persons, compared to younger ones, and men, compared to women, removed "their" ticks after a longer period of tick attachment. The infestation behaviour of the different tick stages concerning where on the host's body the ticks generally will attach and when such ticks generally will be detected and removed in relation to host age and gender, should be of value for the development of prophylactic methods against tick infestation and to provide relevant advice to people on how to avoid or reduce the risk of tick infestation.
- Feb 2013
- CABI Nosworthy Way 38 Chauncey Street Wallingford Suite 1002 Oxfordshire OX10 8DE Boston, MA 02111 UK
The continuing emergence and evolution of tick-borne diseases has significant implications for animal and human health, and the profitability of food animal production. These problems are enhanced by the spread of ticks to new regions, and many tick-borne diseases having zoonotic capability. This book is an expansion of the EFSA report on the subject, and details the significance of tick-borne diseases, identification of tick species, emerging tick-borne infections, factors influencing the spread and distribution of ticks and surveillance and control measures.
Many factors are involved in determining the latitudinal and altitudinal spread of the important tick vector Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) in Europe, as well as in changes in the distribution within its prior endemic zones. This paper builds on published literature and unpublished expert opinion from the VBORNET network with the aim of reviewing the evidence for these changes in Europe and discusses the many climatic, ecological, landscape and anthropogenic drivers. These can be divided into those directly related to climatic change, contributing to an expansion in the tick's geographic range at extremes of altitude in central Europe, and at extremes of latitude in Scandinavia; those related to changes in the distribution of tick hosts, particularly roe deer and other cervids; other ecological changes such as habitat connectivity and changes in land management; and finally, anthropogenically induced changes. These factors are strongly interlinked and often not well quantified. Although a change in climate plays an important role in certain geographic regions, for much of Europe it is non-climatic factors that are becoming increasingly important. How we manage habitats on a landscape scale, and the changes in the distribution and abundance of tick hosts are important considerations during our assessment and management of the public health risks associated with ticks and tick-borne disease issues in 21st century Europe. Better understanding and mapping of the spread of I. ricinus (and changes in its abundance) is, however, essential to assess the risk of the spread of infections transmitted by this vector species. Enhanced tick surveillance with harmonized approaches for comparison of data enabling the follow-up of trends at EU level will improve the messages on risk related to tick-borne diseases to policy makers, other stake holders and to the general public.
TO THE EDITOR: In a recently published study, Estrada-Peña et al. reported the finding of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) in adult Hyalomma lusitanicum ticks from red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Spain during 2010 (1). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the virus was most likely of African origin. Here, we present a model for the transfer of CCHFV-infected ticks by migratory birds from Africa to Europe.
Essential oils of Hyptis suaveolens (Lamiaceae), Croton roxburghii (Euphorbiaceae), and Litsea cubeba (Lauraceae) were tested in the field near Vientiane city, Lao PDR, on humans for repellent activity against mosquitoes. Landing mosquitoes were collected and later identified. The most abundant mosquitoes captured belonged to the genera Armigeres, Culex, and Aedes. All the plant oils tested at concentrations of 1.7 microg/cm(2), 3.3 microg/cm(2), and 6.3 microg/cm(2) were significantly more mosquito repellent than the negative control. Croton oil was significantly repellent against mosquitoes of the three genera at the highest (6.3 microg/cm(2)) concentration tested. Litsea oil was significantly repellent against Armigeres at all (1.7 microg/cm(2), 3.3 microg/cm(2), and 6.3 microg/cm(2)) concentrations tested. Hyptis oil was significantly repellent against Armigeres at 3.3 microg/cm(2) and 6.3 microg/cm(2) and against Culex at 1.7 microg/cm(2) and 6.3 microg/cm(2). The oils were analyzed for chemical content of volatiles, mainly terpenes. Main constituents were beta-pinene, sabinene, and 1,8-cineol from oils of the green parts of H. suaveolens; alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and alpha-phellandrene from fresh bark of C. roxburghii; and alpha-pinene, beta-phellandrene, sabinene, and 1,8-cineol from fresh fruits of L. cubeba.
The highest annual incidence of human tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in Sweden ever recorded by the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI) occurred last year, 2011. The number of TBE cases recorded during 2012 up to 6th August 2012 indicates that the incidence for 2012 could exceed that of 2011. In this review of the ecology and epidemiology of TBE in Sweden our main aim is to analyse the possible reasons behind the gradually increasing incidence of human TBE during the last 20 years. The main TBE virus (TBEV) vector to humans in Sweden is the nymphal stage of the common tick Ixodes ricinus. The main mode of transmission and maintenance of TBEV in the tick population is considered to be when infective nymphs co-feed with uninfected but infectible larvae on rodents. In most locations the roe deer, Capreolus capreolus is the main host for the reproducing adult I. ricinus ticks. The high number of roe deer for more than three decades has resulted in a very large tick population. Deer numbers have, however, gradually declined from the early 1990s to the present. This decline in roe deer numbers most likely made the populations of small rodents, which are reservoir-competent for TBEV, gradually more important as hosts for the immature ticks. Consequently, the abundance of TBEV-infected ticks has increased. Two harsh winters in 2009-2011 caused a more abrupt decline in roe deer numbers. This likely forced a substantial proportion of the "host-seeking" ticks to feed on bank voles (Myodes glareolus), which at that time suddenly had become very numerous, rather than on roe deer. Thus, the bank vole population peak in 2010 most likely caused many tick larvae to feed on reservoir-competent rodents. This presumably resulted in increased transmission of TBEV among ticks and therefore increased the density of infected ticks the following year. The unusually warm, humid weather and the prolonged vegetation period in 2011 permitted nymphs and adult ticks to quest for hosts nearly all days of that year. These weather conditions stimulated many people to spend time outdoors in areas where they were at risk of being attacked by infective nymphs. This resulted in at least 284 human cases of overt TBE. The tick season of 2012 also started early with an exceptionally warm March. The abundance of TBEV-infective "hungry" ticks was presumably still relatively high. Precipitation during June and July was rich and will lead to a "good mushroom season". These factors together are likely to result in a TBE incidence of 2012 similar to or higher than that of 2011.
- Jul 2012
We compiled information on the distribution of ticks in the western Palearctic (11°W, 45°E; 29°N, 71°N), published during 1970–2010. The literature search was filtered by the tick’s species name and an unambiguous reference to the point of capture. Records from some curated collections were included. We focused on tick species of importance to human and animal health, in particular: Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor marginatus, D. reticulatus, Haemaphysalis punctata, H. sulcata, Hyalomma marginatum, Hy. lusitanicum, Rhipicephalus annulatus, R. bursa, and the R. sanguineus group. A few records of other species (I. canisuga, I. hexagonus, Hy. impeltatum, Hy. anatolicum, Hy. excavatum, Hy. scupense) were also included. A total of 10,280 records was included in the data set. Almost 42 % of published references are not adequately referenced (and not included in the data set), host is reported for only 61 % of records and a reference to time of collection is missed for 84 % of published records. Ixodes ricinus accounted for 44.3 % of total records, with H. marginatum and D. marginatus accounting for 7.1 and 8.1 % of records, respectively. The lack of homogeneity of the references and potential pitfalls in the compilation were addressed to create a digital data set of the records of the ticks. We attached to every record a coherent set of quantitative descriptors for the site of reporting, namely gridded interpolated monthly climate and remotely sensed data on vegetation (NDVI). We also attached categorical descriptors of the habitat: a standard classification of land biomes and an ad hoc classification of the target territory from remotely sensed temperature and NDVI data. A descriptive analysis of the data revealed that a principal components reduction of the environmental (temperature and NDVI) variables described the distribution of the species in the target territory. However, categorical descriptors of the habitat were less effective. We stressed the importance of building reliable collections of ticks with specific references as to collection point, host and date of capture. The data set is freely downloadable. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10493-012-9600-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
- Apr 2012
A total of 887 adult Ixodes ricinus ticks (469 females and 418 males) from 29 different localities in Sweden were screened for Rickettsia, Anaplasma, and Coxiella DNA using PCR and then subjected to gene sequencing. Rickettsial DNA was detected in 9.5-9.6% of the ticks. Most of the positive ticks were infected with Rickettsia helvetica. One tick harbored another spotted fever rickettsia, closely related to or identical with R. sibirica not previously found in I. ricinus nor in Sweden. Six of the ticks (0.7%) were infected with an Anaplasma sp., presumably A. phagocytophilum. Coxiella burnetii DNA was not detected in any of the ticks. The detection of R. helvetica and A. phagocytophilum in several of the localities sampled suggests that these potentially human-pathogenic agents are common in Sweden.
Ixodes ricinus is the main vector in Europe of human-pathogenic Lyme borreliosis (LB) spirochaetes, the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and other pathogens of humans and domesticated mammals. The results of a previous 1994 questionnaire, directed at people living in Central and North Sweden (Svealand and Norrland) and aiming to gather information about tick exposure for humans and domestic animals, suggested that Ixodes ricinus ticks had become more widespread in Central Sweden and the southern part of North Sweden from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. To investigate whether the expansion of the tick's northern geographical range and the increasing abundance of ticks in Sweden were still occurring, in 2009 we performed a follow-up survey 16 years after the initial study. A questionnaire similar to the one used in the 1994 study was published in Swedish magazines aimed at dog owners, home owners, and hunters. The questionnaire was published together with a popular science article about the tick's biology and role as a pathogen vector in Sweden. The magazines were selected to get information from people familiar with ticks and who spend time in areas where ticks might be present. Analyses of data from both surveys revealed that during the near 30-year period from the early 1980s to 2008, I. ricinus has expanded its distribution range northwards. In the early 1990s ticks were found in new areas along the northern coastline of the Baltic Sea, while in the 2009 study, ticks were reported for the first time from many locations in North Sweden. This included locations as far north as 66°N and places in the interior part of North Sweden. During this 16-year period the tick's range in Sweden was estimated to have increased by 9.9%. Most of the range expansion occurred in North Sweden (north of 60°N) where the tick's coverage area doubled from 12.5% in the early 1990s to 26.8% in 2008. Moreover, according to the respondents, the abundance of ticks had increased markedly in LB- and TBE-endemic areas in South (Götaland) and Central Sweden. The results suggest that I. ricinus has expanded its range in North Sweden and has become distinctly more abundant in Central and South Sweden during the last three decades. However, in the northern mountain region I. ricinus is still absent. The increased abundance of the tick can be explained by two main factors: First, the high availability of large numbers of important tick maintenance hosts, i.e., cervids, particularly roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) during the last three decades. Second, a warmer climate with milder winters and a prolonged growing season that permits greater survival and proliferation over a larger geographical area of both the tick itself and deer. High reproductive potential of roe deer, high tick infestation rate and the tendency of roe deer to disperse great distances may explain the range expansion of I. ricinus and particularly the appearance of new TBEV foci far away from old TBEV-endemic localities. The geographical presence of LB in Sweden corresponds to the distribution of I. ricinus. Thus, LB is now an emerging disease risk in many parts of North Sweden. Unless countermeasures are undertaken to keep the deer populations, particularly C. capreolus and Dama dama, at the relatively low levels that prevailed before the late 1970s--especially in and around urban areas where human population density is high--by e.g. reduced hunting of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and lynx (Lynx lynx), the incidences of human LB and TBE are expected to continue to be high or even to increase in Sweden in coming decades.
- Apr 2011
Copulation duration of Glossina pallidipes from Lambwe Valley (0° 35′, S, 34° 15′ E) and Kibwezi Forest (2° 27′ S, 37° 55′ E) in Kenya, was investigated in the laboratory. The difference in mean copulation time between the populations was highly significant. Reciprocal copulations showed that the trait is predominantly or only determined by the male. F1 and F2 male hybrid durations were similar and intermediate between the parental durations. The variances of the F2 hybrid durations were not significantly larger than those of the F1 hybrids. Male hybrids from backcrosses had durations on the average intermediate between their parents'. Reciprocal F1 hybrid male durations gave different means. It is inferred that the trait, in the two populations investigated, is under polygenic control by factors distributed on an unknown number of autosomes and on the X chromosomes.
G. p. palpalis females were fed bovine blood that was collected from a slaughter house, freeze-dried, reconstituted with water and either gamma-irradiated with 1-2 kGy in air after reconstitution, or gamma-irradiated with 1-40 kGy in nitrogen gas before reconstitution. Some of the data indicate that radiation doses of about 1 kGy to liquid blood, or about 1-10 kGy to dry blood may be beneficial in membrane feeding systems, presumably due to reduced levels of micro-organisms in the blood. Irradiation with 40 kGy in nitrogen gas reduced the nutritive quality of the blood. Pseudomonas aeruginosa added to reconstituted, unirradiated blood (c. 5 × 105 bacteria/ml) caused heavy mortality and a reduced fecundity and offspring size among G. palpalis ♀ ♀. Irradiation with 1 kGy killed all P. aeruginosa in this blood and restored its quality. Females fed contaminated irradiated blood, sterile blood irradiated after reconstitution with 1 kGy, sterile reconstituted unirradiated blood, or sterile blood irradiated with 10 kGy before reconstitution, had a similar survival and fecundity but the size of offspring was reduced in the latter group. It is concluded that for the mass-rearing of G. p. palpalis using freeze-dried blood, that was collected from a slaughter house, radiation with about 1 kGy to the reconstituted blood may be beneficial.
In Sweden, the geographical distribution of Lyme borreliosis corresponds to that of its vector Ixodes ricinus. Both tick activity and the length of the vegetation period are determined by daily mean temperatures ≥5°C. We analysed the correspondence between the distribution of I. ricinus in Sweden, the start date, end date, and length of the vegetation period, and the distributions of tick habitat-associated plant species. The geographical distribution of I. ricinus in Sweden corresponds to a vegetation period averaging approximately 170 days, an early start (before May 1st) of spring, and to the distribution of black alder (Alnus glutinosa). Based on scenario models for these parameters, changes in the range and abundance of I. ricinus were projected for the periods 2011-2040, 2041-2070, and 2071-2100. We conclude that climate change during this century will probably increase the geographic range of I. ricinus as vegetation communities and mammals associated with high tick densities will increase their geographic ranges due to a markedly prolonged vegetation period. By the end of this century, the ranges of I. ricinus and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato may, in suitable habitats, encompass most of Sweden, Norway, and Finland as far as 70°N, except the mountainous regions. This will lead to an increased Lyme borreliosis risk in northern Scandinavia.
Frequencies and standard deviations of observed X and 3L centromeric region haplotypes inferred based on the frequencies of SINE-X and 3L genotypes in samples collected in The Gambia and in Guinea Bissau. (DOC)
Pair wise associations of X, 2L and 3L centromeric regions, as determined by PCR detection of presence/absence of a SINE element insertion  and sequence analyses of form-specific SNPs in chromosome-2L and -3L centromeric regions  in Anopheles gambiae adult females from The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. (DOC)
Individuals with different SINE-X/3L genotypes observed and expected based on Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in the Anopheles gambiae adult female samples collected in The Gambia and in Guinea Bissau. (DOC)
The main Afrotropical malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, is undergoing a process of sympatric ecological diversification leading to at least two incipient species (the M and S molecular forms) showing heterogeneous levels of divergence across the genome. The physically unlinked centromeric regions on all three chromosomes of these closely related taxa contain fixed nucleotide differences which have been found in nearly complete linkage disequilibrium in geographic areas of no or low M-S hybridization. Assays diagnostic for SNP and structural differences between M and S forms in the three centromeric regions were applied in samples from the western extreme of their range of sympatry, the only area where high frequencies of putative M/S hybrids have been reported. The results reveal a level of admixture not observed in the rest of the range. In particular, we found: i) heterozygous genotypes at each marker, although at frequencies lower than expected under panmixia; ii) virtually all possible genotypic combinations between markers on different chromosomes, although genetic association was nevertheless detected; iii) discordant M and S genotypes at two X-linked markers near the centromere, suggestive of introgression and inter-locus recombination. These results could be indicative either of a secondary contact zone between M and S, or of the maintenance of ancestral polymorphisms. This issue and the perspectives opened by these results in the study of the M and S incipient speciation process are discussed.
Bartonella spp. infections are considered to be vector-borne zoonoses; ticks are suspected vectors of bartonellae. Migratory birds can disperse ticks infected with zoonotic pathogens such as Rickettsia and tick-borne encephalitis virus and possibly also Bartonella. Thus, in the present study 386 tick specimens collected in spring 2009 from migratory birds on the Mediterranean islands Capri and Antikythera were screened for Bartonella spp. RNA. One or more ticks were found on 2.7% of the birds. Most ticks were Hyalomma rufipes nymphs and larvae with mean infestation rates of 1.7 nymphs and 0.6 larvae per infested bird. Bartonella spp. RNA was not detected in any of the tick specimens.
Tick-borne Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. are considered to be emerging human pathogens, but only limited data are available on their occurrence in Sweden. Two real-time PCR assays followed by nested PCR and sequence analysis were carried out to investigate the prevalence of A. phagocytophilum and spotted fever rickettsiae in ticks from seven areas in Sweden. In 139 pooled samples, representing a total of 1245 Ixodes ricinus ticks (204 larvae, 963 nymphs, 38 males, 40 females), the overall positive mean infection prevalence was 1.3-15.0% for A. phagocytophilum and 1.5-17.3% for R. helvetica. A. phagocytophilum was only detected in nymphs (1.7-19.4%), whereas R. helvetica was detected in all three tick stages. Support for vertical and transstadial transmission was only obtained for R. helvetica. Both agents showed similar infection rates across study areas, although infection rates were greater in coastal areas. The results show that both pathogens occurred in all seven locations, indicating that they are prevalent in Sweden and should be considered etiological agents in patients recently bitten by ticks.
Hematophagous parasites such as leeches, ticks, mites, lice, bedbugs, mosquitoes, and myiasis-producing fly larvae are common health problems in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Several arthropod-borne infections, e.g., malaria, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis, are endemic there. Effective vector control methods including the use of pesticides, insecticide-treated bed nets, and synthetic and plant-based repellents are important means of control against such invertebrates and the pathogens they may transmit or directly cause. In this study, we documented traditional knowledge on plants that are used to repel or kill hematophagous arthropods, including mosquitoes, bedbugs, human lice, mites and ticks, fly larvae, and blood-sucking leeches. Structured interviews were carried out in 66 villages comprising 17 ethnic groups, covering a range of cultures, throughout Lao People's Democratic Republic. A total of 92 plant species was recorded as traditional repellents (including plants for pesticidal usages) in 123 different plant-ectoparasite combinations. The number and species of plants, and animal taxa repelled (or killed) per plant species differed per region, village, and ethnic group. Traditional use was confirmed in the scientific literature for 74 of these plant species, and for an additional 13 species using literature on closely related species. The use of botanical repellents and pesticides from many plant species is common and widespread in the Lao countryside. In the future, the identification of the active components in certain plants to develop more optimal, inexpensive repellents, insecticides, acaricides, or antileech compounds as alternatives to synthetic repellents/pesticides against blood-feeding insects, ticks, mites, and leeches is warranted.
The distributional area of the tick Ixodes ricinus (L.), the primary European vector to humans of Lyme borreliosis spirochaetes (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato) and tick-borne encephalitis virus, appears to be increasing in Sweden. It is therefore important to determine which environmental factors are most useful to assess risk of human exposure to this tick and its associated pathogens. The geographical distribution of I. ricinus in Sweden was analysed with respect to vegetation zones and climate. The northern limit of I. ricinus and B. burgdorferi s.l. in Sweden corresponds roughly to the northern limit of the southern boreal vegetation zone, and is characterized climatically by snow cover for a mean duration of 150 days and a vegetation period averaging 170 days. The zoogeographical distribution of I. ricinus in Sweden can be classified as southerly-central, with the centre of the distribution south of the Limes Norrlandicus. Ixodes ricinus nymphs from 13 localities in different parts of Sweden were examined for the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. and found to be infected with Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii. Tick sampling localities were characterized on the basis of the density of Borrelia-infected I. ricinus nymphs, presence of specific mammals, dominant vegetation and climate. Densities of I. ricinus nymphs and Borrelia-infected nymphs were significantly correlated, and nymphal density can thus serve as a general indicator of risk for exposure to Lyme borreliosis spirochaetes. Analysis of data from this and other studies suggests that high densities of Borrelia-infected nymphs typically occur in coastal, broadleaf vegetation and in mixed deciduous/spruce vegetation in southern Sweden. Ixodes ricinus populations consistently infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. can occur in: (a) biotopes with shrews, rodents, hares and birds; (b) biotopes with shrews, rodents, hares, deer and birds, and (c) island locations where the varying hare (Lepus timidus) is the only mammalian tick host.
The toxicity of para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), the main arthropod-repellent compound in the oil of the lemon eucalyptus, Corymbia citriodora, was evaluated against nymphs of Ixodes ricinus using five methods (A-E) of a contact toxicity bioassay. Mortality rates were estimated by recording numbers of dead nymphs at 30 min intervals during the first 5 h after the start of exposure and at longer intervals thereafter. The mortality rate increased with increasing concentration of PMD and duration of exposure with a distinct effect after 3.5 h. From the results obtained by methods A, C and E, the LC(50) range was 0.035-0.037 mg PMD/cm(2) and the LC(95) range was 0.095-0.097 mg PMD/cm(2) at 4 h of exposure; the LT(50) range was 2.1-2.8 h and the LT(95) range was 3.9-4.2 h at 0.1 mg PMD/cm(2). To determine the duration of toxic activity of PMD, different concentrations (0.002, 0.01, 0.1 mg PMD/cm(2)) were tested and mortality was recorded at each concentration after 1 h; thereafter new ticks were tested. This test revealed that the lethal activity of PMD remained for 24 h but appeared absent after 48 h. The overall results show that PMD is toxic to nymphs of I. ricinus and may be useful for tick control.
In the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae Giles sensu stricto, two molecular forms denoted M and S are considered units of incipient speciation within this species. Very low hybrid frequencies and significant genetic differentiation have been found in sympatric M- and S-form populations. We studied the molecular form composition and the degree of genetic differentiation at 15 microsatellites in two samples of An. gambiae collected in two consecutive years from Bissau, Guinea Bissau. High frequencies of M/S hybrids (19-24%) were found in this area. Coincidently, very low levels of genetic differentiation were detected between forms when analysis involved microsatellites mapped at chromosome-3 (mean Fst, 0.000-0.002). The single exception was the X-linked AGXH678, for which high differentiation was measured (Fst, 0.158-0.301). This locus maps near the centromere of chromosome X, a low recombination region in which selection is likely to promote divergence between M and S forms. These results strongly suggest that the degree of isolation between M and S forms, considered the units of incipient speciation within An. gambiae, is not homogenous throughout the species distribution range.
The repellent effect of the essential oils of flower heads of the aromatic plant tansy, Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae), originating from Sweden, was tested against host-seeking nymphs of the common tick Ixodes ricinus (L.). The essential oils were obtained by steam distillation (SD) and by using an online solvent extraction separation setup. Further fractionations of the SD oils were obtained by medium-pressure liquid chromatography on silica gel. The volatiles of the essential oils and the fractions that exhibited strong tick repellency (90-100%) were collected by solid phase microextraction and identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The chemical analyses of the oils show that the populations of T. vulgare from Uppsala and Stockholm may represent different chemotypes, but that they exhibited similar tick repellency. Main volatiles detected from oils of T. vulgare collected at Uppsala were alpha-pinene (27%), beta-pinene (11%), pinocamphone (11%), 1,3,3-trimethylcyclohex-1-ene-4-carboxaldehyde (11%), and 1,8-cineole (10%). In the sample collected in Stockholm, the main components were beta-thujone (39%) and camphor (23%) followed by alpha-thujone (11%) and 1,8-cineole (8%). When constituents in the oils, e.g., alpha-terpineol, 4-terpineol, alpha+beta-thujone, 1,8-cineol, verbenol, and verbenone, were tested separately (each diluted 0.5%, vol:vol), 64-72% tick repellency was obtained.
In our search for tick repellents of plant origin, to be used as alternatives to commercial arthropod repellents, we investigated the effect of the well known plant signaling compound methyl jasmonate (MJ) using nymphs of the tick Ixodes ricinus. In laboratory tests, pieces of cloth with MJ at 0.075, 0.15, 0.30 and 0.75 mg/cm2 yielded increasing repellencies against the nymphs: 57%, 71%, 92% and 99%, respectively, of the nymphs did not cling to the cloth. Repellency of MJ was also investigated in a tick-infested woodland area in central Sweden. Cotton flannel cloths sprayed with 0.05, 0.1 or 0.2 mg/cm2 MJ dissolved in acetone were dragged over the ground vegetation. The numbers of nymphs on the treated cloths were significantly lower than those on the untreated cloth. Thus, MJ has, at the concentrations tested, significant repellent activity against I. ricinus nymphs.
MyggA Natural (Bioglan, Lund, Sweden) is a commercially available repellent against blood-feeding arthropods. It contains 30% of lemon-scented eucalyptus, Corymbia citriodora (Hook.) K. D. Hill & L. A. S. Johnson (Myrtaceae), oil with a minimum of 50% p-menthane-3,8-diol. MyggA Natural also contains small amounts of the essential oils of lavender, Lavandula angustifolia Mill. (Lamiaceae), and geranium, Pelargonium graveolens L'Her. (Geraniaceae). In laboratory bioassays, MyggA Natural and C. citriodora oil exhibited 100% repellency against host-seeking nymphs of Ixodes ricinus (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae). Lavender oil and geranium oil, when diluted to 1% in 1,2-propanediol, had weak repellent activities on I. ricinus nymphs, but when diluted to 30% in 1,2-propanediol had 100% repellencies. 1,2-Propanediol (100%) had no significant repellent activity in comparison with that of the control. In field tests in tick-infested areas in central Sweden, tick repellency of MyggA Natural and C. citriodora oil was tested by the blanket-dragging technique for 4 d during a 6-d period. The repellencies (74 and 85%, respectively) on day 1 are similar (89%) to that of blankets treated in a similar manner with 19% diethyl-methyl-benzamide, based on previous work. Repellencies declined significantly from day 1 to day 6 (74 to 45% for MyggA Natural; 85 to 42% for C. citriodora oil).
- Aug 2006
The tick Ixodes ricinus is responsible for the transmission of a number of bacterial, protozoan and viral diseases to humans and animals in Europe and Northern Africa. Female I. ricinus from England, Switzerland and Italy have been found to harbour an intracellular alpha-proteobacterium, designated IricES1, within the cells of the ovary. IricES1 is the only prokaryote known to exist within the mitochondria of any animal or multicellular organism. To further examine the distribution, prevalence and mode of transmission of IricES1, we performed polymerase chain reaction screening of I. ricinus adults from 12 countries across its geographic distribution, including tick colonies that have been maintained in the laboratory for varying periods of time. IricES1 was detected in 100% of field-collected female ticks from all countries examined (n = 128), while 44% of males were found to be infected (n = 108). Those males that are infected appear to harbour fewer bacteria than females. Sequencing of fragments of the 16S rRNA and gyrB genes revealed very low nucleotide diversity among various populations of IricES1. Transmission of IricES1 from engorged adult females to eggs was found to be 100% (n = 31). In tick colonies that had been maintained in the laboratory for several years, a relatively low prevalence was found in females (32%; n = 25). To our knowledge, IricES1 is the most widespread and highly prevalent of any tick-associated symbiont.
In the field in south-central Sweden, we tested by randomised, standardised methodology the potential anti-tick repellent activity of two concentrations of MyggA Natural spray (containing PMD) (4.2 and 3.2 g/m2) and one of RB86 (with 70% neem oil containing azadirachtin) (3 g/m2) to host seeking nymphs of Ixodes ricinus. Each substance was applied separately to 1 m2 cotton flannel cloths. Nymphal ticks on the cloths, pulled over the vegetation, were recorded at 10-m stops. Nymphal numbers recorded differed significantly between treated cloths [4.2 or 3.2 g MyggA Natural spray/m2 and 3 g RB86/m2] and the untreated control (df = 3, chi2 = 112.74, P < 0.0001). Nymphal numbers also differed significantly among collectors (df = 3, chi2 = 15.80, P < 0.001). Repellency of treated cloths, i.e., 4.2 or 3.2 g MyggA Natural spray/m2 and 3 g RB 86/m2 declined from day 0 (i.e. the day of impregnation) to day 3 after impregnation from 77 to 24%, 58 to 16% and 47 to 0.5%, respectively. This study suggests that all three treatments have significant repellent activities against I. ricinus nymphs.
In laboratory tests, ethyl acetate extracts of Hyptis suaveolens Poit. from Guinea-Bissau and Rhododendon tomentosum (Stokes) H. Harmaja (formerly Ledum palustre L.) and Myrica gale L. significantly reduced probing activity of Aedes aegypti (L.). In the field in southern Sweden, extracts of leaves of R. tomentosum, M. gale, and Achillea millefolium L. significantly reduced biting by Aedes mosquitoes. Volatile compounds from M. gale, R. tomentosum, A. millefolium, and H. suaveolens were collected by solid phase microextraction (SPME). Alternatively, compounds in the plants were subjected to extraction by organic solvents of different polarities or by steam distillation and collection by SPME. Compounds collected were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Leaves of H. suaveolens contained mainly beta-caryophyllene, bergamotene, and terpinolene. The volatile fraction of an ethyl acetate extract of H. suaveolens was collected by SPME and included beta-caryophyllene, (-) -sabinene, beta-pinene, limonene, alpha-pinene, and bergamotene. The main volatiles detected were alpha-pinene, alpha-phellandrene, myrcene, and limonene from M. gale leaves or inflorescences; pcymene, sabinene, and terpinyl acetate from leaves of R. tomentosum; and (-)-germacrene D, beta-pinene, sabinene, and alpha-pinene from A. millefolium leaves or inflorescences. The selected plant species contained numerous volatiles known to have insecticidal, acaricidal, "pesticidal," and/ or insect repellent properties.
Leaves of Myrica gale Linnaeus (Myricaceae), Rhododendron tomentosum (Stokes) H. Harmaja (formerly Ledum palustre Linnaeus: Ericaceae) and Artemisia absinthium Linnaeus (Asteraceae) were extracted with organic solvents of different polarities and the essential oils of leaves were obtained by steam distillation. The extracts or oils were tested in the laboratory for repellency against host-seeking nymphs of Ixodes ricinus Linnaeus (Acari: Ixodidae). Rhododendron tomentosum oil, 10%, diluted in acetone, exhibited 95% repellency; R. tomentosum and A. absinthium extracts in ethyl acetate, > 70% repellency; A. absinthium extract in hexane, approximately 62% repellency; and M. gale oil, 10%, approximately 50% repellency on I. ricinus nymphs. Compounds in the leaf extracts or in the oils were collected by solid phase microextraction (SPME) and identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and/or MS. Characteristic volatiles detected from oil or extract of M. gale were the monoterpenes 1,8-cineole, alpha-terpineol, 4-terpineol and thujenol; and of R. tomentosum myrcene and palustrol. Characteristic volatiles from leaf extracts of A. absinthium were sabinene, oxygenated monoterpenes, e.g. thujenol and linalool, and geranyl acetate. Each plant species synthesized numerous volatiles known to exhibit acaricidal, insecticidal, 'pesticidal' and/or arthropod repellent properties. These plants may be useful sources of chemicals for the control of arthropods of medical, veterinary or agricultural importance.
Environmental risk factors associated with increased malaria mosquito (Anopheles) abundance indoors were studied in a suburban area, Antula, of Guinea Bissau, during the rainy seasons of 1993-1995. All bedrooms in 30 houses were searched for resting mosquitoes three times each year. The most abundant mosquito was An. gambiae s.s. Significantly greater numbers of resting mosquitoes were present in rooms with open eaves and in houses with a well on the compound. Pigs were the most common domestic animals in Antula. Presence of pigs in a house was associated with increased mosquito abundance in the bedrooms of the same house. The abundance of female mosquitoes also increased with increasing human biomass per square meter of bedroom area.
The colonization capacity and dispersal of sylvatic populations of Triatoma ryckmani Zeledón and Ponce were investigated by means of experimental chicken coops installed within the semiarid region in the Department of El Progreso, Guatemala. In the four artificial habitats a total of 672 T. ryckmani was found as well as two males of T. dimidiata (Latreille). Triatomine densities were not the same in the four chicken coops. From one chicken coop 53.4% (359) of the triatomines were collected. Full colonization, i.e. all stages from egg to adult found at the same time, took place in the fourth month after the first female's arrival. High dispersal and colonization capacity of T. ryckmani was evident; adult dispersal occurs mainly during the dry and coolest season (November-February). The overall female/male sex ratio was 2:1; more females than males were found throughout the year. Most of the triatomines in the shelter inside the chicken coops were found on the northern (43%; with less heat and sunlight) and eastern side (35%; more windy). This is the first report on the colonization capacity and population dynamics of T. ryckmani in artificial habitats in a Chagas disease endemic area of Central America.
For the first time, the reduviid bug Triatoma ryckmani Zeledón and Ponce (Hemiptera; Reduviidae) was recorded to inhabit the epiphyte Tillandsia xerographica Rohweder (Bromeliaceae) in the semiarid region of Guatemala. These bromeliads grow mainly in drought-resistant trees with rough bark such as Pereskia lychnidiflora (Cactaceae). In our study site, we investigated 30 T. xerographica, and 53 specimens of T. ryckmani were found. Most T. ryckmani (68.5%) were unfed. Ants (Formicidae) were the predominant (92.2%) insect taxon in T. xerographica. Other insects such as Blattidae (3.0%), Reduviidae (T. ryckmani: 2.5%), Blaberidae (2.2%), Gryllidae (0.1%), and Acrididae (0.1%) were recorded in the bromeliads. T. xerographica is illegally commercialized without previous inspection. This may cause accidental introduction of T. ryckmani to houses and to other countries.
- Dec 2003
In the summer of 1998 a forensic entomology project was carried out at the Unit of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Systematic Zoology at Uppsala University. This was the first forensic entomology project in Sweden. Ärthropods were collected from corpses brought to the Unit of Forensic Medicine for autopsy. The arthropods were determined to species and developmental stage. Larvae of the blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy and Lucilia sericata (Meigen), and the beetle (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) Dermestes lardarius L. were recorded. The estimated ambient mean temperatures, development stages of the insects, and literature records of their developmental times were used to extrapolate the dates of death and thereby the post-mortem intervals (PMIs). The PMIs obtained by our data corresponded well with the PMIs obtained by other data.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether differences in Ixodes ricinus (L.) nymphal relative density exist among different vegetation types in southern Sweden. Nymphal I. ricinus were sampled in southeastern Scania in southern Sweden during June-August 1997. A total of 110-180 25-m2 samples were taken by blanket-dragging from each of nine different vegetation types. There was a highly significant difference in nymphal abundance between the open areas as one group and the forested areas as another group (P < 0.0001). Vegetation types that differed significantly in median nymphal abundance from all other vegetation types were pine forest (16 nymphs/100 m2) and beech forest (40 nymphs/100 m2). No significant differences in median nymphal density were revealed among mixed deciduous forest, alder forest, oak forest, and hazel forest (28-32 nymphs/100 m2), or among dry meadow, meadow, and heath (0 nymphs/100 m2). Forestation of open areas is likely to lead to increased I. ricinus abundance and disease risk.
We studied malaria transmission by comparing parasite populations in humans and mosquito vectors at the household level. Blood samples were collected from all inhabitants for microscopic detection of gametocytes and polymerase chain reaction analysis. The next morning, blood-fed resting mosquitoes were collected inside the bed nets used by the individuals surveyed the previous afternoon. After 8 days of maintenance, mosquitoes were dissected, and midguts and salivary glands were recovered for polymerase chain reaction analysis. Results showed that parasite distribution was the same in the 2 hosts when compared at each household but was different when whole populations were analyzed. Different associations of Plasmodium species seem to occur in humans (Plasmodium falciparum/Plasmodium malariae) and mosquitoes (P. falciparum/Plasmodium ovale). Regarding P. falciparum infections, a higher proportion of single-genotype infections and less allele diversity are observed in mosquitoes than in humans.
Ticks were collected from pastures and domestic and wild vertebrates during the rainy seasons of 1994 and 1996 in Guinea-Bissau. We collected the following species: from pastures Rhipicephalus lunulatus Neumann, R. muhsamae Morel & Vassiliades, R. senegalensis Koch, and R. sulcatus Neumann; from reptiles Amblyomma nuttalli Dönitz and Aponomma flavomaculatum (Lucas); and from mammals Amblyomma paulopunctatum Neumann, Amblyomma splendidum Giebel, Amblyomma variegatum (F.), Hyalomma truncatum Koch, R. muhsamae, R. sanguineus (Latreille), R. senegalensis, and R. sulcatus. New host records are as follows: Amblyomma nuttalli on Senegal flap shelled turtle (Cyclanorbis senegalensis Dumeril & Bibron), Aponomma flavomaculatum on West African dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis Cope), and R. sulcatus on bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus Pallas). We reviewed the literature for earlier records of ticks from Guinea-Bissau. The regional distributions of the 21 tick species hitherto recorded in Guinea-Bissau are listed.
In Guinea Bissau, West Africa, the shrub Hyptis suaveolens Poit. (Lamiaceae) and smoke of the bark of the tree Daniellia oliveri Rolfe (Caesalpiniaceae) traditionally are used to reduce numbers of mosquitoes indoors at night. We recorded the numbers of mosquitoes in the bedrooms of 30 households in a rural village, Mandinka-Rá in central Guinea Bissau. Each household was provided with bed nets and allocated randomly to 1 of 6 treatments as follows: (1) lambda-cyhalothrin-treated bed nets (10 mg/m2), (2) permethrin-treated bed nets (500 mg/m2), (3) burning of H. suaveolens, (4) burning of the bark of D. oliveri, (5) fresh H. suaveolens, and (6) control group using untreated bed nets and no plant products. In treatment groups 1-4, the mean number of mosquitoes was significantly less than the mean of the control. These results indicated that the use of burning H. suaveolens or D. oliveri indoors at night repelled endophagic mosquitoes and may contribute significantly to reducing the prevalence of diseases caused by pathogens transmitted by house-frequenting, nocturnally blood-feeding arthropods.
In the present study further characterization of the amplified sequence of the citrate synthase gene of the spotted fever group Rickettsia isolated from Ixodes ricinus ticks in Sweden showed that it has 100% homology with the deposited sequence of the citrate synthase gene of Rickettsia helvetica. The restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) pattern of an amplified 382-bp product of the citrate synthase sequence, defined by primers RpCS877 and RpCS1258, yielded fragments for our isolate that could be visualized as a double band that migrated at approximately 44 bp, another double band at 85 bp, and a single band at nearly 120 bp after digestion with the restriction enzyme AluI. When calculating a theoretical PCR-RFLP pattern of the sequence of the citrate synthase gene of R. helvetica from the known positions where the AluI enzyme cuts, we arrived at the same pattern that was obtained for our isolate, a pattern distinctly different from the previously published PCR-RFLP pattern for R. helvetica. Investigation of 125 living I. ricinus ticks showed a higher prevalence of rickettsial DNA in these ticks than we had found in an earlier study. Rickettsial DNA was detected by amplification of the 16S rRNA gene, for which a seminested primer system consisting of two oligonucleotide primer pairs was used. Of the 125 ticks, some were pooled, giving a total of 82 tick samples, of which 20 were found to be positive for the rickettsial DNA gene investigated. When considering the fact that some of the positive samples were pooled, the minimum possible prevalence in these ticks was 20 of 125 (16%) and the maximum possible prevalence was 46 of 125 (36.8%). These prevalence estimates conform to those of other studies of spotted fever group rickettsiae in hard ticks in Europe.
By standardized interviews of people in 23 rural villages, in the Oio region of Guinea Bissau, we collected data on which plant species and plant derived products or methods people use to reduce mosquito biting activity. The following plants were used to reduce numbers of mosquitoes indoors at night: fresh or smouldering Hyptis suaveolens Poit. (Lamiaceae), smoke of the bark of Daniellia oliveri Rolfe (Caesalpiniaceae), smoke of the infructescence of Elaeis guineensis Jacq. (Arecaceae), smoke of the seed capsules of Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) Benth. (Mimosaceae), smoke of the leaves of Azadirachta indica A.Juss. (Meliaceae) and Eucalyptus sp. (Myrtaceae), fresh Ocimum canum Sims (Lamiaceae), and fresh Senna occidentalis (L.) Link (Caesalpiniaceae). In two field experiments we estimated the 'repellent activity' of certain of these plants and compared their efficacies with those of two commercially available mosquito repellents, i.e. 'positive' controls. In the first experiment we tested: smouldering H. suaveolens (85.4% repellency); fresh H. suaveolens (73.2%); burning of the bark of D. oliveri (74.7%); and smoke of the leaves of Eucalyptus (72.2%). In the second experiment we tested: smouldering H. suaveolens (83.6% repellency); fresh H. suaveolens (66.5%); burning of the bark of D. oliveri (77.9%); smoke of the leaves of A. indica (76.0%); smoke of the infructescence of E. guineensis (69.0%); fresh O. canum (63.6%); and fresh S. occidentalis; (29.4%). All the products tested, except S. occidentalis were significantly more effective than the negative control.
The geographical distribution and density of Ixodes ricinus (L.) in the 2 northern regions, Svealand and Norrland, in Sweden were studied by using a questionnaire in Swedish magazines for house owners and dog owners, and in provincial newspapers. Analysis of the approximately 1,200 answers revealed that ticks are present in all parts of Svealand (except northern Värmland and northern and western Dalarna), the southeastern part of Norrland (i.e., Gästrikland and Hälsingland), and along the Baltic Sea coast of central and northern Norrland. The proportion of answers reporting ticks and the estimated tick density (i.e., the number of ticks infesting dogs and cats) decreased from south to north. The answers to the questionnaire and data from field sampling of ticks suggest that tick density decreased distinctly along a narrow boundary zone, coinciding with the biological limit of Norrland (Limes Norrlandicus), crossing Sweden through southern Värmland, southeastern Dalarna, and central Gästrikland. The results of the questionnaire suggest that I. ricinus ticks are more widespread today than in the early 1980s, especially in Värmland, western and central Dalarna, Hälsingland, and the coastal areas of Medelpad, Angermanland, and Västerbotten, and that the proportion of the human population at risk for tick-borne pathogens in Svealand and Norrland is increasing.
We compared the palpal ratio method with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to distinguish between Anopheles gambiae s.s. and A. melas. At the end of the rainy season of 1995, female mosquitoes were collected indoors in the Antula area of Bissau, Guinea Bissau. A subsample of 354 mosquitoes were identified first with PCR and then with the palpal ratio method (study A). Subsequently, another 195 mosquitoes were identified first with the palpal ratio method and then with PCR (study B). The highest percentage (100%, n = 16) of correctly identified A. melas was obtained at the palpal ratio cut-off point of 0.83. However, at this point 4.0% (14/347) and 11.3% (21/186) of the A. gambiae were erroneously identified as A. melas in study A and B, respectively. This suggests that the palpal ratio method is not sufficiently reliable to distinguish between A. gambiae and A. melas from the Bissau area.
An analysis of cuticular hydrocarbons (CH) of unfed adult Ixodes ricinus ticks collected throughout Europe showed that there are 10 distinct I. ricinus groups. Studies on the seasonal and annual consistency of CH composition and possible effects of host and environmental factors suggested that CHs may be used as a genuine genetic marker for I. ricinus. Preliminary studies compared the vector competence of ticks from three of the most separated I. ricinus groups and the results suggested that there may be significant differences in tick susceptibility to Borrelia afzelii.
Existing knowledge on reservoir hosts of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato was collated and reviewed and several species, particularly birds, were identified as reservoir competent. At the present time, 9 small mammals, 7 medium-sized mammals and 16 bird species, including passerines, sea birds and pheasants, appear to be capable of transmitting spirochaetes to ticks and thus of participating in the natural circulation of B. burgdorferi s.l. in Europe. The house mouse, Mus musculus is strongly suspected of reservoir competence and many other small rodent species, particularly in eastern Europe and Russia, have been implicated. Ungulates are not thought to play a major role as reservoir hosts, though co-feeding transmission may permit some tick infection. The criteria for establishment of reservoir status are outlined and a method for identification of host blood meals of previous instars of unfed ticks, developed in a participant laboratory, is briefly described.
Tick ecologists throughout Europe provided descriptions of Lyme borreliosis habitats according to a standardised format and data for 105 habitats in 16 countries were received. The data showed that high risk situations, as defined by the presence of large numbers of B. burgdorferi sensu lato-infected nymphal I. ricinus, occur in heterogeneous deciduous woodland, usually with a recreational function and with a diverse fauna, usually including deer. Large numbers of ticks occurred in some other habitats, but infection prevalence was usually low. The situation for adult I. ricinus was similar but less clearly defined. Tick infection rates were found to be lower in western Europe than in the east, and the infection rate in I. persulcatus, the most easterly vector species, was markedly higher than in I. ricinus. In the vast majority of habitats the infection rate in adult I. ricinus was greater than in nymphs. Larvae were rarely found to be infected.
- Apr 1998
A Lyme borreliosis information leaflet has been produced to promote awareness amongst the general public. It was designed to provide a framework for similar material throughout Europe and complements a questionnaire produced to measure awareness of Lyme borreliosis. This questionnaire can be used to determine the impact of educational campaigns using material such as the leaflet. Feasibility studies showed that the questionnaire successfully highlighted predictable differences between sample groups and also that the leaflet performed well in increasing knowledge in low-awareness groups.
Infestation by Ixodes ricinus ticks on rodents, hares and cervids was examined at Bogesund, 10 km north of Stockholm, in south-central Sweden during 1991-1994 and on varying hares (Lepus timidus) at Stora Karlsö and Gotska Sandön in the Baltic Sea during 1992-1993. At Bogesund, there were great differences between two consecutive years in the number of I. ricinus larvae infesting bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus). The seasonal pattern of infestation by I. ricinus larvae and nymphs on bank voles was unimodal in 1991, with peaks in June-July and bimodal in 1992, with peaks in June and August. Male bank voles, compared to females and older voles, compared to young voles, harboured greater numbers of I. ricinus ticks. Apodemus mice, compared to bank voles, harboured greater numbers of I. ricinus ticks. Ixodes ricinus larvae engorged on Apodemus mice were heavier than larvae engorged on bank voles and resulted in larger nymphs. However, there was no difference in the proportions of viable nymphs resulting from larvae engorged on mice or voles. The ranges in the numbers of I. ricinus ticks infesting individual hosts were 1-451 for rodents, 16-2374 for hares and 428-2072 for roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). These ranges of tick numbers are estimated to represent potential blood losses from individual hosts of approximately 0.2-65% for rodents, 0.2-13% for hares and 0.3-9.0% for roe deer. Within the populations of all host species examined, the distributions of all stages of I. ricinus were clumped, with most host individuals harbouring few ticks and only a few individuals harbouring many ticks. The data suggest that, even though a small proportion of tick hosts may be severely affected, the direct effects of feeding by I. ricinus are unlikely to play an important role on mammal population dynamics.
The vertical distribution in the vegetation of questing Ixodes ricinus ticks was investigated in two different vegetation types (high and low vegetation) at two localities in south-central Sweden during 1992-1993 (Toro) and 1995 (Bogesund). Significant correlations were found between the vertical distribution of immature ticks and the height of the vegetation. The greatest mean availabilities of the larvae and nymphs in low vegetation were in the intervals 0-9 and 30-39 cm, respectively. The larval numbers were greatest close to the ground (0-29 cm) in both high and low vegetation. The larval : nymphal ratio, at ground level at localities free of ground vegetation, varied between 8 : 1 and 32 : 1. In high vegetation, the greatest mean numbers of nymphal and adult ticks were at height intervals of 50-59 and 60-79 cm, respectively. These ranges are within the estimated height interval (40-100 cm) of the main part of the body surface of their preferred host, the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). The presence of most questing I. ricinus larvae at ground level would favour the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., since this is where the highly reservoir-competent rodents and shrews usually occur.
Parasites present in blood samples of asymptomatic carriers and in the midgut of mosquitoes collected within a few days from the same households, have been analysed by PCR. A high prevalence (32%) of infected mosquitoes was observed and, in half of these, two parasite species were found simultaneously. The distribution of parasite species in the mosquito correlated with that found in the infected persons. Genotype patterns of Plasmodium falciparum populations were however found to be different in the two sets of samples. These results and the potential of PCR are discussed with reference to investigations of the dynamics of malaria transmission.
A spotted fever group rickettsia isolated from the common tick, Ixodes ricinus, was genetically characterized by PCR and genomic sequencing. This study was performed with nymphal and adult ticks collected in southern and central Sweden. I. ricinus is the only North European tick species of medical importance which is regularly collected from humans. No species of the genus Rickettsia has previously been found in Scandinavian ticks, nor has any case of domestic rickettsial infection in humans or animals been reported. According to the nucleotide sequencing, the present Rickettsia sp. belongs to the spotted fever group of rickettsiae. Ticks are the most common arthropod reservoirs and vectors of the rickettsiae of this group. Among 748 ticks investigated, 13 (1.7%) were positive for a Rickettsia sp. Borrelia burgdorferi was detected in 52 (7%) of the ticks, a prevalence similar to or somewhat lower than that previously been recorded in other Swedish studies. There was no evidence of ehrlichial or chlamydial DNA in these ticks. The Rickettsia sp. was further characterized by 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). The 16S rDNA sequencing resulted in a sequence identical to that described for Rickettsia helvetica, but the pattern obtained with RFLP of the citrate synthetase gene diverged from previously known patterns. The rickettsial agent of one tick which was positive by PCR was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. The morphology of this rickettsia was similar to that of the spotted fever and typhus group rickettsiae. This represents the first documented isolate of a Rickettsia sp. from Swedish ticks.
During 1994-1995 we examined the density of questing Ixodes ricinus (L.) nymphs and their prevalence of infection with Borrelia-like spirochetes at 43 localities in south-central Sweden with median nymphal densities ranging from 0.1 to > 50/100 m2. The general pattern was that the infection prevalence in nymphs increased with nymphal density at < 10 nymphs per 100 m2, peaked (20-30%) at 10-20 nymphs per 100 m2, and decreased at higher nymphal densities. A low infection prevalence (7-10%) in nymphs at 4 of the 5 localities with the highest nymphal densities (> 35 nymphs per 100 m2) at the small island of Bedarön was most likely related to the presence of large numbers of fallow deer, Dama dama (L.), which are reservoir-incompetent for Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner. However, because the increase in nymphal density at Bedarön was greater than the decrease in infection prevalence, 5 of the 6 highest densities of infected nymphs occurred in the 5 localities at Bedarön. We suggest that reservoir-incompetent cervids, being more important hosts for adult 1. ricinus than for the larvae, indirectly increase the density of infected nymphal ticks by feeding large numbers of adult ticks, thereby increasing the number of larvae feeding on reservoir-competent shrews, rodents, and hares.
Seasonal variations in the density of questing Ixodes ricinus (L.) nymphs and their prevalence of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner were studied during 1991-1993 at a locality in southcentral Sweden. The seasonal pattern of the density of questing I. ricinus nymphs was variable; there was a bimodal pattern with peaks of similar magnitude in 1991, a bimodal pattern with a small spring peak and a greater autumn peak in 1992, and a unimodal pattern with a spring peak and lower values during summer and autumn in 1993. The seasonal pattern of prevalence of Borrelia infection in questing nymphs was similar during all 3 yr, with a peak infection prevalence in late spring or early summer, followed by lower infection prevalences in late summer and autumn. There was a significant correlation between the monthly density of Borrelia-infected nymphs and the monthly density of nymphs. This suggests that, within a certain range of nymphal densities, it may be possible to assess the density of Borrelia-infected I. ricinus nymphs without examining nymphs for B. burgdorferi s.l.
We investigated isolated ecosystems to determine if Lyme borreliosis is maintained in the absence of reservoir-competent small mammals. Human cases of Lyme disease have been reported on the isolated islands of Gotska Sandön and Stora Karlsö in the Baltic Sea. The varying hare, Lepus timidus, is the only terrestrial vertebrate species capable of serving as a host for all stages of Ixodes ricinus (L.) on these islands. In August, mean larval infestation on 5 hares from each island was 548 with a maximum of 2,276 larvae on 1 hare. Smaller numbers of nymphal and female ticks were also engorging on the hares. During August-September, B. burgdorferi s.l. was detected in 11-24% of nymphal I. ricinus fed as larvae on hares and in 8-19% of host-seeking nymphal I. ricinus collected from the vegetation. We conclude that L. timidus serves as a maintenance host for B. burgdorferi s.l. and its vector, I. ricinus, on both islands.
- May 1996
We investigated isolated ecosystems to determine if Lyme borreliosis is maintained in the absence of reservoir-competent small mammals. Human cases of Lyme disease have been reported on the isolated islands of Gotska Sandön and Stora Karlsö in the Baltic Sea. The varying hare, Lepus timidus, is the only terrestrial vertebrate species capable of serving as a host for all stages of Ixodes ricinus (L.) on these islands. In August, mean larval infestation on 5 hares from each island was 548 with a maximum of 2,276 larvae on 1 hare. Smaller numbers of nymphal and female ticks were also engorging on the hares. During August–September, B. burgdorferi s.l. was detected in 11–24% of nymphal I. ricinus fed as larvae on hares and in 8–19% of host-seeking nymphal I. ricinus collected from the vegetation. We conclude that L. timidus serves as a maintenance host for B. burgdorferi s.l. and its vector, I. ricinus, on both islands.
Lyme disease is a zoonosis transmitted by ticks and caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Epidemiological and ecological investigations to date have focused on the terrestrial forms of Lyme disease. Here we show a significant role for seabirds in a global transmission cycle by demonstrating the presence of Lyme disease Borrelia spirochetes in Ixodes uriae ticks from several seabird colonies in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Borrelia DNA was isolated from I. uriae ticks and from cultured spirochetes. Sequence analysis of a conserved region of the flagellin (fla) gene revealed that the DNA obtained was from B. garinii regardless of the geographical origin of the sample. Identical fla gene fragments in ticks obtained from different hemispheres indicate a transhemispheric exchange of Lyme disease spirochetes. A marine ecological niche and a marine epidemiological route for Lyme disease borreliae are proposed.