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Longitudinal surveillance of the tick Ixodes ricinus for borreliae.

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Abstract

Host-seeking Ixodes ricinus (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae) were monitored for borreliae (Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.) using dark-field microscopy in South Moravia (Czech Republic) each May from 1991 to 2001 (150 nymphs, 100 females and 100 males each year). This survey revealed a mean annual percentage of infected ticks of 16.8% (range, 11.7-24.2) in nymphs, 24.9% (range, 16.5-33.6) in females and 26.1% (range, 17.1-37.3) in males. Annual incidence of
Lyme borreliosis in humans of the area in the same period (range, 8.7-41.7 per 100,000) correlated significantly with the frequency (number of ticks per flag per hour) of nymphs infected with >50 borreliae or all nymphal ticks, but not with the frequency of females, infected females or the infection rate (% of ticks infected) of either nymphal or female ticks. A prediction of the annual incidence of
Lyme borreliosis, based on the frequency of heavily infected or all nymphal I. ricinus ticks, is feasible. The infection rate in I. ricinus correlated significantly with the North Atlantic Oscillation winter index of the last year (in nymphs) or of the year before last (in adults).

Med Vet Entomol. 2003 Mar;17(1):46-51. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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