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Spatial distribution of a population at risk: an important factor for understanding the recent rise in tick-borne diseases (Lyme borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis in the Czech Republic).

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Recent rise in tick-borne diseases in many parts of Europe is a phenomenon in need of an explanation. We analyzed temporal trends in spatial distribution of a population at risk of
Lyme borreliosis, tick-borne encephalitis, and as a control, also of a ‘non-tick-borne
disease‘ in the Czech Republic in 1997-2010. Analysis revealed that the population’s exposure had been increasingly confined to the nearest surroundings of residences or in totally residential locations and that the incidence of the diseases depended in some causal way on how close to residences people exposed themselves to the risk. The rise in
Lyme borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis was solely due to infections acquired at or near patients’ homes (<5 km), while the number of cases acquired further away was decreasing. The detected patterns in the data question some of the hypotheses which may be applicable in explaining the rise in
disease incidences in the Czech Republic including the effect of climate change. Potentially causal factors are discussed.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2013 Dec;4(6):522-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

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