• Acarological Risk of Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Infections Across Space and Time in The Netherlands.

      Takken, Willem; van Vliet, Arnold J H; Verhulst, Niels O; Jacobs, Frans H H; Gassner, Fedor; Hartemink, Nienke; Mulder, Sara; Sprong, Hein (2017)
      A longitudinal investigation on tick populations and their Borrelia infections in the Netherlands was undertaken between 2006 and 2011 with the aim to assess spatial and temporal patterns of the acarological risk in forested sites across the country and to assess variations in Borrelia genospecies diversity. Ticks were collected monthly in 11 sites and nymphs were examined for Borrelia infections. Tick populations expressed strong seasonal variations, with consistent and significant differences in mean tick densities between sites. Borrelia infections were present in all study sites, with a site-specific mean prevalence per month ranging from 7% to 26%. Prevalence was location-dependent and was not associated with tick densities. Mean Borrelia prevalence was lowest in January (4%), gradually increasing to reach a maximum (24%) in August. Borrelia afzelii represented 70% of all infections, with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia garinii, and Borrelia valaisiana represented with 4%, 8%, and 10%, respectively. The density of infected nymphs and the proportional distribution of the four Borrelia genospecies, were significantly different between sites. The results show a consistent and significant spatial and temporal difference in acarological risk across the Netherlands.