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Reisen, William (Ed.)Abstract The incidence of tick-borne diseases has increased in recent decades and accounts for the majority of vector-borne disease cases in temperate areas of Europe, North America, and Asia. This emergence has been attributed to multiple and interactive drivers including changes in climate, land use, abundance of key hosts, and people’s behaviors affecting the probability of human exposure to infected ticks. In this forum paper, we focus on how land use changes have shaped the eco-epidemiology of Ixodes scapularis-borne pathogens, in particular the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto in the eastern United States. We use this as a model system, addressing other tick-borne disease systems as needed to illustrate patterns or processes. We first examine how land use interacts with abiotic conditions (microclimate) and biotic factors (e.g., host community composition) to influence the enzootic hazard, measured as the density of host-seeking I. scapularis nymphs infected with B. burgdorferi s.s. We then review the evidence of how specific landscape configuration, in particular forest fragmentation, influences the enzootic hazard and disease risk across spatial scales and urbanization levels. We emphasize the need for a dynamic understanding of landscapes based on tick and pathogen host movement and habitat use in relationmore »
Climate change influences on the geographic distributional potential of the spotted fever vectors Amblyomma maculatum and Dermacentor andersoniAmblyomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick), and Dermacentor andersoni (Rocky Mountain wood tick) are two North American ticks that transmit spotted fevers associated Rickettsia . Amblyomma maculatum transmits Rickettsia parkeri and Francisella tularensis , while D. andersoni transmits R. rickettsii , Anaplasma marginale , Coltivirus (Colorado tick fever virus), and F. tularensis . Increases in temperature causes mild winters and more extreme dry periods during summers, which will affect tick populations in unknown ways. Here, we used ecological niche modeling (ENM) to assess the potential geographic distributions of these two medically important vector species in North America under current condition and then transfer those models to the future under different future climate scenarios with special interest in highlighting new potential expansion areas. Current model predictions for A. maculatum showed suitable areas across the southern and Midwest United States, and east coast, western and southern Mexico. For D. andersoni , our models showed broad suitable areas across northwestern United States. New potential for range expansions was anticipated for both tick species northward in response to climate change, extending across the Midwest and New England for A. maculatum , and still farther north into Canada for D. andersoni .
Transmission of West Nile and five other temperate mosquito-borne viruses peaks at temperatures between 23°C and 26°CThe temperature-dependence of many important mosquito-borne diseases has never been quantified. These relationships are critical for understanding current distributions and predicting future shifts from climate change. We used trait-based models to characterize temperature-dependent transmission of 10 vector–pathogen pairs of mosquitoes ( Culex pipiens , Cx. quinquefascsiatus , Cx. tarsalis , and others) and viruses (West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Sindbis, and Rift Valley Fever viruses), most with substantial transmission in temperate regions. Transmission is optimized at intermediate temperatures (23–26°C) and often has wider thermal breadths (due to cooler lower thermal limits) compared to pathogens with predominately tropical distributions (in previous studies). The incidence of human West Nile virus cases across US counties responded unimodally to average summer temperature and peaked at 24°C, matching model-predicted optima (24–25°C). Climate warming will likely shift transmission of these diseases, increasing it in cooler locations while decreasing it in warmer locations.
Rich, Stephen (Ed.)Abstract Tick-borne diseases are a growing problem in many parts of the world, and their surveillance and control touch on challenging issues in medical entomology, agricultural health, veterinary medicine, and biosecurity. Spatial approaches can be used to synthesize the data generated by integrative One Health surveillance systems, and help stakeholders, managers, and medical geographers understand the current and future distribution of risk. Here, we performed a systematic review of over 8,000 studies and identified a total of 303 scientific publications that map tick-borne diseases using data on vectors, pathogens, and hosts (including wildlife, livestock, and human cases). We find that the field is growing rapidly, with the major Ixodes-borne diseases (Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis in particular) giving way to monitoring efforts that encompass a broader range of threats. We find a tremendous diversity of methods used to map tick-borne disease, but also find major gaps: data on the enzootic cycle of tick-borne pathogens is severely underutilized, and mapping efforts are mostly limited to Europe and North America. We suggest that future work can readily apply available methods to track the distributions of tick-borne diseases in Africa and Asia, following a One Health approach that combines medical and veterinary surveillancemore »
Tick Species Composition, Collection Rates, and Phenology Provide Insights into Tick-Borne Disease Ecology in Virginia
To better understand tick ecology in Virginia and the increasing Lyme disease incidence in western Virginia, a comparative phenological study was conducted in which monthly collections were performed at twelve sampling locations in southwestern Virginia (high Lyme disease incidence) and 18 equivalent sampling locations in southeastern Virginia (low Lyme disease incidence) for one year. In western Virginia, we also explored the effect of elevation on collection rates of Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae) and Amblyomma americanum (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae). In total, 35,438 ticks were collected (33,106 A. americanum; 2,052 I. scapularis; 134 Ixodes affinis Neumann [Acari: Ixodidae]; 84 Dermacentor variabilis [Say] [Acari: Ixodidae]; 49 Dermacentor albipictus [Packard] [Acari: Ixodidae]; 10 Haemaphysalis leporispalustris [Packard] [Acari: Ixodidae]; 2 Ixodes brunneus Koch [Acari: Ixodidae]; 1 Haemaphysalis longicornis Neumann [Acari: Ixodidae]). Within southwestern Virginia, Ixodes scapularis collection rates were not influenced by elevation, unlike A. americanum which were collected more frequently at lower elevations (e.g., below 500 m). Notably, I. scapularis larvae and nymphs were commonly collected in southwestern Virginia (indicating that they were questing on or above the leaf litter) but not in southeastern Virginia. Questing on or above the leaf litter is primarily associated with northern populations of I. scapularis. Thesemore »