• Longitudinal analysis of tick densities and Borrelia, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia infections of Ixodes ricinus ticks in different habitat areas in The Netherlands.

      Wielinga, Peter R; Gaasenbeek, Cor; Fonville, Manoj; Boer, Albert de; Vries, Ankje de; Dimmers, Wim; Akkerhuis Op Jagers, Gerard; Schouls, Leo M; Borgsteede, Fred; Giessen, Joke W B van der (2006-12-01)
      From 2000 to 2004, ticks were collected by dragging a blanket in four habitat areas in The Netherlands: dunes, heather, forest, and a city park. Tick densities were calculated, and infection with Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma and Ehrlichia species was investigated by reverse line blot analysis. The lowest tick density was observed in the heather area (1 to 8/100 m2). In the oak forest and city park, the tick densities ranged from 26 to 45/100 m2. The highest tick density was found in the dune area (139 to 551/100 m2). The infection rates varied significantly for the four study areas and years, ranging from 0.8 to 11. 5% for Borrelia spp. and 1 to 16% for Ehrlichia or Anaplasma (Ehrlichia/Anaplasma) spp. Borrelia infection rates were highest in the dunes, followed by the forest, the city park, and heather area. In contrast, Ehrlichia/Anaplasma was found most often in the forest and less often in the city park. The following Borrelia species were found: Borrelia sensu lato strains not identified to the species level (2.5%), B. afzelii (2.5%), B. valaisiana (0.9%), B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (0.13%), and B. garinii (0.13%). For Ehrlichia/Anaplasma species, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma spp. not identified to the species level (2.5%), Anaplasma schotti variant (3.5%), Anaplasma phagocytophilum variant (0.3%), and Ehrlichia canis (0.19%) were found. E. canis is reported for the first time in ticks in The Netherlands in this study. Borrelia lusitaniae, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and the human granylocytic anaplasmosis agent were not detected. About 1.6% of the ticks were infected with both Borrelia and Ehrlichia/Anaplasma, which was higher than the frequency predicted from the individual infection rates, suggesting hosts with multiple infections or a possible selective advantage of coinfection.