• Emergence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in the Netherlands.

      Dekker, Margriet; Laverman, Gozewijn Dirk; de Vries, Ankje; Reimerink, Johan; Geeraedts, Felix (2019-01-01)
      Recently, tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) was detected in the Netherlands for the first time, in ticks collected in 2015 in the National Park Sallandse heuvelrug in response to the detection of anti-TBEV antibodies in roe deer. Hereafter, two human cases of autochthonous TBE have been reported, occurring in 2016. One case was geographically linked to the area of the previously reported ticks, which harbored a genetically divergent TBEV-Eu strain variant (TBEV-NL). So far these are the few reported events that point to endemic transmission of TBEV in the Netherlands and the true prevalence of TBEV and TBE disease in the Netherlands and its impact on the human population remains to be determined. We describe the third human case, identified in 2017, which geographically clusters with the aforementioned case and TBEV-positive ticks. We also describe the identification of another TBEV-NL-positive tick in the Netherlands, collected 2 years after the initial find in that same region (in 2017). These observations support the concept of continued circulation of TBEV-NL and the presence of a possible TBEV hot spot in the Sallandse Heuvelrug region.
    • Infection prevalence and ecotypes of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in moose Alces alces, red deer Cervus elaphus, roe deer Capreolus capreolus and Ixodes ricinus ticks from Norway.

      Stigum, Vetle M; Jaarsma, Ryanne I; Sprong, Hein; Rolandsen, Christer M; Mysterud, Atle (2019-01-03)
      The geographical expansion of the tick Ixodes ricinus in northern Europe is a serious concern for animal and human health. The pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum is transmitted by ticks and causes emergences of tick-borne fever (anaplasmosis) in livestock. The transmission dynamics of the different ecotypes of A. phagocytophilum in the ecosystems is only partly determined. Red deer and roe deer contribute to circulation of different ecotypes of A. phagocytophilum in continental Europe, while the role of moose for circulation of different ecotypes is not fully established but an important issue in northern Europe. We determined infection prevalence and ecotypes of A. phagocytophilum in moose (n = 111), red deer (n = 141), roe deer (n = 28) and questing ticks (n = 9241) in Norway. As previously described, red deer was exclusively linked to circulation of ecotype I, while roe deer was exclusively linked to circulation of ecotype II. Surprisingly, we found 58% ecotype I (n = 19) and 42% of ecotype II (n = 14) in moose. Both ecotypes were found in questing ticks in areas with multiple cervid species present, while only ecotype I was found in ticks in a region with only red deer present. Hence, the geographical distribution of ecotypes in ticks followed the distribution of cervid species present in a given region and their link to ecotype I and II. Moose probably function as reservoirs for both ecotype I and II, indicating that the ecotypes of A. phagocytophilum are not entirely host-specific and have overlapping niches. The disease hazard depends also on both host abundance and the number of immature ticks fed by each host. Our study provides novel insights in the northern distribution and expansion of tick-borne fever.