Publications by authors named "Kayleigh M Hansford"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Ixodes ricinus and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in the Royal Parks of London, UK.

Exp Appl Acarol 2021 Jul 14;84(3):593-606. Epub 2021 Jun 14.

Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department Science & Technology, Public Health England, Porton Down, UK.

Assessing the risk of tick-borne disease in areas with high visitor numbers is important from a public health perspective. Evidence suggests that tick presence, density, infection prevalence and the density of infected ticks can vary between habitats within urban green space, suggesting that the risk of Lyme borreliosis transmission can also vary. This study assessed nymph density, Borrelia prevalence and the density of infected nymphs across a range of habitat types in nine parks in London which receive millions of visitors each year. Ixodes ricinus were found in only two of the nine locations sampled, and here they were found in all types of habitat surveyed. Established I. ricinus populations were identified in the two largest parks, both of which had resident free-roaming deer populations. Highest densities of nymphs (15.68 per 100 m) and infected nymphs (1.22 per 100 m) were associated with woodland and under canopy habitats in Richmond Park, but ticks infected with Borrelia were found across all habitat types surveyed. Nymphs infected with Borrelia (7.9%) were only reported from Richmond Park, where Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto and Borrelia afzelii were identified as the dominant genospecies. Areas with short grass appeared to be less suitable for ticks and maintaining short grass in high footfall areas could be a good strategy for reducing the risk of Lyme borreliosis transmission to humans in such settings. In areas where this would create conflict with existing practices which aim to improve and/or meet historic landscape, biodiversity and public access goals, promoting public health awareness of tick-borne disease risks could also be utilised.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10493-021-00633-3DOI Listing
July 2021

Study of general practitioner consultations for tick bites at high, medium and low incidence areas for Lyme borreliosis in England and Wales.

Zoonoses Public Health 2020 08 11;67(5):591-599. Epub 2020 Mar 11.

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England, Salisbury, UK.

Lyme borreliosis (LB) is a tick-borne disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. In Europe, it is predominately transmitted by the sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus. Compared with other European countries, the United Kingdom (UK) is considered to have a low incidence of LB, although this varies regionally. To determine whether an association exists between tick bite consultations and LB incidence in the UK, retrospective questionnaires were sent to general practitioners (GPs) in high (Wiltshire), medium (Cumbria) and low (Wales) incidence areas. During 2011, the greatest incidence of consultations for tick bites was reported by GPs in Cumbria (204 consultations per 100,000 inhabitants), followed by Wiltshire (160 per 100,000 population) and Wales (54 per 100,000 population). In Wiltshire and Cumbria, GPs predominantly provided advice on tick removal, whilst Welsh GPs mostly advised patients on tick bite prevention. Focusing on Cumbria during 2011-2013, 72.5% of GPs removed ticks from patients (incidence of 101 consultations per 100,000 population), and more GPs diagnosed LB based on clinical features than laboratory-confirmed diagnoses. To date, this is the first study to investigate the incidence of tick bite consultations and LB in England and Wales.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/zph.12694DOI Listing
August 2020

Ticks on the Channel Islands and implications for public health.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2020 05 4;11(3):101405. Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 0JG, UK; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health, UK; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, UK.

The Channel Islands are British Crown dependencies located in the English Channel to the west of the Normandy coast in northern France. Whilst there have been studies investigating tick occurrence and distribution in different habitats on the mainland of the UK and in France, the Channel Islands have been relatively understudied. As such, little is known about whether the sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus, is present, and whether there is a potential risk of Lyme borreliosis on the Channel Islands. To ascertain the presence of I. ricinus on the three largest islands in the archipelago: Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney, surveys of ticks questing in the vegetation and ticks feeding on hosts were undertaken during April and May 2016. Across all three islands, the highest numbers of ticks were found in woodland habitats. Ixodes ricinus was the predominant questing tick species found on Jersey, and Ixodes ventalloi the most common questing tick species on Alderney and Guernsey, with little or no evidence of questing I. ricinus on either island. During field studies on small mammals, I. ricinus was the predominant tick species feeding on Jersey bank voles (Myodes glareolus caesarius), with Ixodes hexagonus the most common species infesting hedgehogs on Guernsey. We propose that the greater diversity of small mammals on Jersey may be important in supporting immature stages of I. ricinus, in contrast to Guernsey and Alderney. Morphological identification of tick species was confirmed by PCR sequencing based on amplification of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit one (cox1) gene (COI DNA barcoding). To date, there have been few records of human tick bites in the Channel Islands, suggesting that the current risk from tick-borne disease may be low, but continued reporting of any human tick bites, along with reporting of cases of Lyme borreliosis will be important for continued assessment of the impact of tick-borne diseases in the Channel Islands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2020.101405DOI Listing
May 2020

Detection of new endemic focus of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Hampshire/Dorset border, England, September 2019.

Euro Surveill 2019 Nov;24(47)

Virology and Pathogenesis Group, National Infection Service, Public Health England, Porton Down, United Kingdom.

The presence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) was detected in a questing tick pool in southern England in September 2019. Hitherto, TBEV had only been detected in a limited area in eastern England. This southern English viral genome sequence is distinct from TBEV-UK, being most similar to TBEV-NL. The new location of TBEV presence highlights that the diagnosis of tick-borne encephalitis should be considered in encephalitic patients in areas of the United Kingdom outside eastern England.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.47.1900658DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6885748PMC
November 2019

A probable case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) acquired in England, July 2019.

Euro Surveill 2019 Nov;24(47)

Immunization Unit, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany.

The United Kingdom (UK) has thus far been considered to be free from tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), yet in July 2019, a German infant developed serologically diagnosed TBE following a tick bite in southern England. This first report of a probable human case together with recent findings of TBE virus in ticks in foci in England suggest that TBE may be acquired in parts of England and should be considered in patients with aetiologically-unexplained neurological manifestations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.47.1900679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6885749PMC
November 2019

Seasonality and anatomical location of human tick bites in the United Kingdom.

Zoonoses Public Health 2020 03 8;67(2):112-121. Epub 2019 Nov 8.

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology Group, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England, Salisbury, UK.

Tick bites on humans can occur in a variety of habitats and may result in the transmission of tick-borne pathogens, such as the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis (LB), Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. As the risk of transmission of this pathogen to the host increases with the duration of tick feeding, the recognition and removal of ticks as soon as possible following attachment is important for reducing the risk of infection. Performing a thorough body examination for ticks following potential exposure is recommended by tick awareness campaigns. Knowledge of where on the body feeding ticks are frequently found, and at which times of year peak tick exposure occurs, provides important information for public health messaging and may aid those bitten by ticks to engage more effectively with tick-checking behaviour. This paper summarizes human tick bites in the United Kingdom (UK) during 2013-2018 reported to Public Health England's passive Tick Surveillance Scheme and further examines the anatomical location and seasonality of bites from the most commonly encountered tick and LB vector Ixodes ricinus. A total of 1,328 tick records from humans were received of which 93% were I. ricinus. Humans were most commonly bitten by I. ricinus nymphs (70% bites). Tick bites were recorded on all parts of the body, but there were significant differences in their anatomical location on adults and children. Most tick bites on adults occurred on the legs (50%), whereas on children tick bites were mostly on the head and neck (43%). Bites from I. ricinus were recorded throughout the year but were most numerous during May to August. This study adds to the body of research on the seasonality and anatomical location of human tick bites in temperate Europe and highlights the importance of data collected through passive surveillance in addition to research and epidemiological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/zph.12659DOI Listing
March 2020

Disease and ticks on horses.

Vet Rec 2019 05;184(19):592

The Barn Equine Surgery, Ringwood Road, Three Legged Cross, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 6RE.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.l2056DOI Listing
May 2019

Hyalomma rufipes on an untraveled horse: Is this the first evidence of Hyalomma nymphs successfully moulting in the United Kingdom?

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2019 04 9;10(3):704-708. Epub 2019 Mar 9.

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology Group, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 0JG, UK; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health, UK; Virology & Pathogenesis, National Infection Service, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 0JG, UK.

During September 2018, a tick was submitted to Public Health England's Tick Surveillance Scheme for identification. The tick was sent from a veterinarian who removed it from a horse in Dorset, England, with no history of overseas travel. The tick was identified as a male Hyalomma rufipes using morphological and molecular methods and then tested for a range of tick-borne pathogens including; Alkhurma virus, Anaplasma, Babesia, Bhanja virus, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever virus, Rickettsia and Theileria. The tick tested positive for Rickettsia aeschlimannii, a spotted fever group rickettsia linked to a number of human cases in Africa and Europe. This is the first time H. rufipes has been reported in the United Kingdom (UK), and the lack of travel by the horse (or any in-contact horses) suggests that this could also be the first evidence of successful moulting of a Hyalomma nymph in the UK. It is postulated that the tick was imported into the UK on a migratory bird as an engorged nymph which was able to complete its moult to the adult stage and find a host. This highlights that passive tick surveillance remains an important method for the detection of unusual species that may present a threat to public health in the UK. Horses are important hosts of Hyalomma sp. adults in their native range, therefore, further surveillance studies should be conducted to check horses for ticks in the months following spring bird migration; when imported nymphs may have had time to drop off their avian host and moult to adults. The potential human and animal health risks of such events occurring more regularly are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2019.03.003DOI Listing
April 2019

Assessment of the Public Health Threats Posed by Vector-Borne Disease in the United Kingdom (UK).

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 09 29;15(10). Epub 2018 Sep 29.

Medical Entomology Group, Public Health England, Emergency Response Department, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JG, UK.

In recent years, the known distribution of vector-borne diseases in Europe has changed, with much new information also available now on the status of vectors in the United Kingdom (UK). For example, in 2016, the UK reported their first detection of the non-native mosquito , which is a known vector for dengue and chikungunya virus. In 2010, , a principal mosquito vector for West Nile virus was detected in large numbers in the Thames estuary. For tick-borne diseases, data on the changing distribution of the Lyme borreliosis tick vector, , has recently been published, at a time when there has been an increase in the numbers of reported human cases of Lyme disease. This paper brings together the latest surveillance data and pertinent research on vector-borne disease in the UK, and its relevance to public health. It highlights the need for continued vector surveillance systems to monitor our native mosquito and tick fauna, as well as the need to expand surveillance for invasive species. It illustrates the importance of maintaining surveillance capacity that is sufficient to ensure accurate and timely disease risk assessment to help mitigate the UK's changing emerging infectious disease risks, especially in a time of climatic and environmental change and increasing global connectivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210260PMC
September 2018

Multi-locus sequence typing of Ixodes ricinus and its symbiont Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii across Europe reveals evidence of local co-cladogenesis in Scotland.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2019 01 31;10(1):52-62. Epub 2018 Aug 31.

Institute of Infection & Global Health, University of Liverpool, 146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK. Electronic address:

Ticks have relatively complex microbiomes, but only a small proportion of the bacterial symbionts recorded from ticks are vertically transmitted. Moreover, co-cladogenesis between ticks and their symbionts, indicating an intimate relationship over evolutionary history driven by a mutualistic association, is the exception rather than the rule. One of the most widespread tick symbionts is Candidatus Midichloria, which has been detected in all of the major tick genera of medical and veterinary importance. In some species of Ixodes, such as the sheep tick Ixodes ricinus (infected with Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii), the symbiont is fixed in wild adult female ticks, suggesting an obligate mutualism. However, almost no information is available on genetic variation in Candidatus M. mitochondrii or possible co-cladogenesis with its host across its geographic range. Here, we report the first survey of Candidatus M. mitochondrii in I. ricinus in Great Britain and a multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) analysis of tick and symbiont between British ticks and those collected in continental Europe. We show that while the prevalence of the symbiont in nymphs collected in England is similar to that reported from the continent, a higher prevalence in nymphs and adult males is apparent in Wales. In general, Candidatus M. mitochondrii exhibits very low levels of sequence diversity, although a consistent signal of host-symbiont coevolution was apparent in Scotland. Moreover, the tick MLST scheme revealed that Scottish specimens form a clade that is partially separated from other British ticks, with almost no contribution of continental sequence types in this north-westerly border of the tick's natural range. The low diversity of Candidatus M. mitochondrii, in contrast with previously reported high rates of polymorphism in I. ricinus mitogenomes, suggests that the symbiont may have swept across Europe recently via a horizontal, rather than vertical, transmission route.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.08.016DOI Listing
January 2019

Be tick aware: when and where to check cats and dogs for ticks.

Vet Rec 2018 05 26;182(18):514. Epub 2018 Feb 26.

Department of Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology, Public Health England, Porton Down, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.104649DOI Listing
May 2018

Surveillance of British ticks: An overview of species records, host associations, and new records of Ixodes ricinus distribution.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2018 03 3;9(3):605-614. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department Science & Technology, Public Health England, Porton Down, SP4 0JG, United Kingdom; Health Protection Research Unit in Environment and Health, Porton Down, Salisbury, UK; Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, Porton Down, Salisbury, UK.

Public Health England's passive Tick Surveillance Scheme (TSS) records the distribution, seasonality and host associations of ticks submitted from across the United Kingdom (UK), and helps to inform the UK government on emerging tick-borne disease risks. Here we summarise data collected through surveillance during 2010-2016, and compare with previous TSS data from 2005 to 2009, particularly in relation to the primary Lyme borreliosis vector Ixodes ricinus. 4173 records were submitted, constituting >14,000 ticks; 97% were endemic tick records (13,833 ticks of 11 species), with an additional 97 records of imported ticks (438 ticks of 17 species). Tick submissions were mainly from veterinary professionals (n = 1954; 46.8%) and members of the public and amateur entomologists (n = 1600; 38.3%), as well as from academic institutions (n = 249; 6.0%), wildlife groups (n = 239; 5.7%) and health professionals (n = 131; 3.1%). The most commonly reported hosts of endemic ticks were dogs (n = 1593; 39.1% of all records), humans (n = 835; 20.5%) and cats (n = 569; 14%). New host associations were recorded for a number of tick species. Ixodes ricinus was the most frequently recorded endemic tick species (n = 2413; 59.2% of all records), followed by I. hexagonus (n = 1355; 33.2%), I. canisuga (n = 132; 3.2%) and I. frontalis (n = 56; 1.4%), with other species each making up <1% total records. 81% of I. ricinus recorded from humans were nymphs, whereas 93.4% of I. ricinus from companion animals were adults. Recent TSS records of I. ricinus in the UK add a considerable amount of new presence data for this species, particularly in the southern regions of England, and confirm that this species is widespread across the UK. The scheme remains a valuable method of collecting continuous national distribution data on ticks from a variety of host species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.01.011DOI Listing
March 2018

Potential risk posed by the importation of ticks into the UK on animals: records from the Tick Surveillance Scheme.

Vet Rec 2018 01 7;182(4):107. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Department of Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department - Science & Technology, Public Health England, Porton Down, UK.

In order to monitor important tick vectors in the UK, Public Health England's Tick Surveillance Scheme (TSS) receives specimens from across the country for identification. In recent years, an increasing number of these specimens have been removed from animals with a recent history of travel outside the UK. This paper presents all data collated by the TSS on ticks entering the country on recently travelled or imported animals since surveillance commenced in 2005. Ten different tick species representing six different genera were identified, entering the UK from 15 different countries. Key themes appear to be emerging from the last 10 years of data, including canine travel from Cyprus and Spain being associated with importation, and canine travel from France being associated with the importation of multiple tick species and canine illness. In addition, more unusual importation routes have been uncovered, such as the importation of on a dog. Some companion animal owners may not be fully aware of the risks associated with ticks, and may not seek advice from a veterinarian before travel or importing a pet. Promoting awareness of ticks and tickborne disease risk during and after travel or animal importation is needed and veterinarians play an importation role in disseminating this information to their clients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.104263DOI Listing
January 2018

Ticks and Borrelia in urban and peri-urban green space habitats in a city in southern England.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2017 03 21;8(3):353-361. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department - Science & Technology, Health Protection Directorate, Public Health England, Porton Down, UK; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health, UK; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, UK.

Ticks are becoming increasingly recognised as important vectors of pathogens in urban and peri-urban areas, including green space used for recreational activities. In the UK, the risk posed by ticks in such areas is largely unknown. In order to begin to assess the risk of ticks in urban/peri-urban areas in southern England, questing ticks were collected from five different habitat types (grassland, hedge, park, woodland and woodland edge) in a city during the spring, summer and autumn of 2013/2014 and screened for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. In addition, seasonal differences in B. burgdorferi s.l. prevalence were also investigated at a single site during 2015. Ixodes ricinus presence and activity were significantly higher in woodland edge habitat and during spring surveys. DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. was detected in 18.1% of nymphs collected across the 25 sites during 2013 and 2014 and two nymphs also tested positive for the newly emerging tick-borne pathogen B. miyamotoi. Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. prevalence at a single site surveyed in 2015 were found to be significantly higher during spring and summer than in autumn, with B. garinii and B. valaisiana most commonly detected. These data indicate that a range of habitats within an urban area in southern England support ticks and that urban Borrelia transmission cycles may exist in some of the urban green spaces included in this study. Sites surveyed were frequently used by humans for recreational activities, providing opportunity for exposure to Borrelia infected ticks in an urban/peri-urban space that might not be typically associated with tick-borne disease transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2016.12.009DOI Listing
March 2017

Importation of a Hyalomma lusitanicum tick into the UK on a dog.

Vet Rec 2016 Oct;179(16):415

Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge, Avenida da Liberdade 5, Águas de Moura, Portugal, e-mail:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.i5645DOI Listing
October 2016

Babesia canis infection in ticks in Essex.

Vet Rec 2016 Mar;178(13):323

Animal and Plant Health Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Surrey KT15 3NB e-mail:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.i1690DOI Listing
March 2016

Overwintering of the brown dog tick in residential properties in England--raising awareness.

Vet Rec 2015 Aug;177(6):156

Veterinary Parasitology & Ecology Group, Life Sciences Building, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1UG.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.h4227DOI Listing
August 2015

Detection of Dermacentor marginatus and a possible Rickettsia slovaca case in the United Kingdom - the risk of the visiting traveller.

Travel Med Infect Dis 2015 Mar-Apr;13(2):200-1. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Public Health England, MRA, Emergency Response Dept, Porton Down, Salisbury SP4 0JG, UK. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2015.01.002DOI Listing
January 2016

Brown dog tick infestation of a home in England.

Vet Rec 2015 Jan;176(5):129-30

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JG.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.h496DOI Listing
January 2015

Importation of R sanguineus into the UK via dogs: tickborne diseases.

Vet Rec 2014 Oct;175(15):385-6

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology, Health Protection and Medical Directorate, Public Health England, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JG.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.g6226DOI Listing
October 2014

A summary of the evidence for the change in European distribution of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) of public health importance.

J Vector Ecol 2014 Jun;39(1):72-7

Medical Entomology group, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom.

The phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae, Phlebotominae) are vectors of several infectious pathogens. The presence of a sand fly vector is considered to be a risk factor for the emergence of leishmaniasis in temperate Europe. Hence, the occurrence of phlebotomine sand flies and any changes in their distribution is important in determining the potential change in distribution of leishmaniasis in Europe. Therefore, published evidence for a changing distribution of the important phlebotomine sand fly vectors of leishmaniasis and phlebovirus infection in Europe is reviewed. This paper presents evidence of an increasing risk of establishment by sand fly species, especially for the Atlantic Coast and inland parts of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. In addition to detection in potentially appropriate areas, the findings show areas of potential future establishment of the species. The most important and urgent necessity within the community of entomologists working on phlebotomines is the need to record the extremes of distribution of each species and obtain data on their regional presence/absence along with increased sharing of the data throughout European projects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1948-7134.2014.12072.xDOI Listing
June 2014

Spotted fever group rickettsiae in Dermacentor reticulatus and Haemaphysalis punctata ticks in the UK.

Parasit Vectors 2013 Jul 19;6:212. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Laboratory for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Background: Spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae have recently been identified for the first time in UK ticks. This included the findings of Rickettsia helvetica in Ixodes ricinus and Rickettsia raoultii in Dermacentor reticulatus. This paper further investigates the occurrence of SFG rickettsiae in additional geographically distinct populations of D. reticulatus, and for the first time, investigates the occurrence of SFG rickettsiae in UK populations of Haemaphysalis punctata ticks.

Methods: Questing D. reticulatus and H. punctata were collected at a number of sites in England and Wales. DNA from questing ticks was extracted by alkaline lysis and detection of rickettsiae DNA was performed, in addition to detection of A. phagocytophilum, N. mikurensis, C. burnetii and B. burgdorferi sensu lato.

Results: This paper builds on previous findings to include the detection of spotted fever Rickettsia which showed the highest homology to Rickettsia massiliae in Haemaphysalis punctata, as well as R. helvetica in D. reticulatus. The occurrence of SFG rickettsiae in D. reticulatus in the UK appears to be confined only to Welsh and Essex populations, with no evidence so far from Devon. Similarly, the occurrence of SFG rickettsiae in H. punctata appears confined to one of two farms known to be infested with this tick in North Kent, with no evidence so far from the Sussex populations. Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Coxiella burnetii and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato DNA was not detected in any of the ticks.

Conclusion: These two tick species are highly restricted in their distribution in England and Wales, but where they do occur they can be abundant. Following detection of these SFG rickettsiae in additional UK tick species, as well as I. ricinus, research should now be directed towards clarifying firstly the geographic distribution of SFG rickettsiae in UK ticks, and secondly to assess the prevalence rates in ticks, wild and domesticated animals and humans to identify the drivers for disease transmission and their public health significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-6-212DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725166PMC
July 2013

Driving forces for changes in geographical distribution of Ixodes ricinus ticks in Europe.

Parasit Vectors 2013 Jan 2;6. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Medical Entomology Group, MRA, Emergency Response Department, Health Protection Agency, Salisbury, UK.

Many factors are involved in determining the latitudinal and altitudinal spread of the important tick vector Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) in Europe, as well as in changes in the distribution within its prior endemic zones. This paper builds on published literature and unpublished expert opinion from the VBORNET network with the aim of reviewing the evidence for these changes in Europe and discusses the many climatic, ecological, landscape and anthropogenic drivers. These can be divided into those directly related to climatic change, contributing to an expansion in the tick's geographic range at extremes of altitude in central Europe, and at extremes of latitude in Scandinavia; those related to changes in the distribution of tick hosts, particularly roe deer and other cervids; other ecological changes such as habitat connectivity and changes in land management; and finally, anthropogenically induced changes. These factors are strongly interlinked and often not well quantified. Although a change in climate plays an important role in certain geographic regions, for much of Europe it is non-climatic factors that are becoming increasingly important. How we manage habitats on a landscape scale, and the changes in the distribution and abundance of tick hosts are important considerations during our assessment and management of the public health risks associated with ticks and tick-borne disease issues in 21(st) century Europe. Better understanding and mapping of the spread of I. ricinus (and changes in its abundance) is, however, essential to assess the risk of the spread of infections transmitted by this vector species. Enhanced tick surveillance with harmonized approaches for comparison of data enabling the follow-up of trends at EU level will improve the messages on risk related to tick-borne diseases to policy makers, other stake holders and to the general public.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-6-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3549795PMC
January 2013

A review of the invasive mosquitoes in Europe: ecology, public health risks, and control options.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2012 Jun 20;12(6):435-47. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology Group, Microbial Risk Assessment, Emergency Response Division, Health Protection Agency, Porton Down, Salisbury, United Kingdom.

There has been growing interest in Europe in recent years in the establishment and spread of invasive mosquitoes, notably the incursion of Aedes albopictus through the international trade in used tires and lucky bamboo, with onward spread within Europe through ground transport. More recently, five other non-European aedine mosquito species have been found in Europe, and in some cases populations have established locally and are spreading. Concerns have been raised about the involvement of these mosquito species in transmission cycles of pathogens of public health importance, and these concerns were borne out following the outbreak of chikungunya fever in Italy in 2007, and subsequent autochthonous cases of dengue fever in France and Croatia in 2010. This article reviews current understanding of all exotic (five introduced invasive and one intercepted) aedine species in Europe, highlighting the known import pathways, biotic and abiotic constraints for establishment, control strategies, and public health significance, and encourages Europe-wide surveillance for invasive mosquitoes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2011.0814DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366101PMC
June 2012
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