• Ticks and tick-borne diseases in the city: Role of landscape connectivity and green space characteristics in a metropolitan area.

      Heylen, D; Lasters, R; Adriaensen, F; Fonville, M; Sprong, H; Matthysen, E (2019-03-16)
      Green spaces in the city are important for human wellbeing, but are also zones in which humans can become infected with zoonotic diseases. Therefore, there is a need to understand how infection risk is related to green space characteristics, wildlife communities and connectivity with rural areas hosting reservoir populations of hosts. Our hypothesis is that wildlife hosts in urban green spaces, and thereby the prevalence of questing ticks and their Lyme disease causing pathogens (Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.), can be partly predicted based on green space characteristics as well as measures of connectivity to known source areas. We sampled ticks in twenty-two green spaces during Spring (2014 and 2016) and Autumn 2016, located along an urbanization gradient in Antwerp (Belgium). More than 18,000 m