A Clear and Present Danger: Tick-borne Diseases in Europe

Paul Heyman; Christel Cochez; Agnetha Hofhuis; Joke van der Giessen; Hein Sprong; Sarah Rebecca Porter; Bertrand Losson; Claude Saegerman; Oliver Donoso-Mantke; Matthias Niedrig; Anna Papa


Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010;8(1):33-50. 

In This Article

Expert Commentary

In the past two decades, a number of 'new' or 'emerging' tick-transmitted diseases were discovered and recognized. At the same time a steady increase of human cases has been noted. From these observations a number of reasons can be identified. First, there is the increased possibility to detect and identify – via improved diagnostic tests and molecular methods – these pathogens. Second, we should consider the impact of climate change – positive or negative – on the biology of ticks: while higher mean temperatures and increased humidity facilitate tick survival on certain latitudes, in other regions the opposite effect occurs. The same parameters can also facilitate the survival and establishment of colonies in regions where tick species were not prevalent before. Travel, trade and an altered attitude towards wildlife and nature further influence vector and pathogen distribution worldwide. The fundamental problem and trigger for these effects, however, seems to be the increased human population and human behavior, and we foresee no change for the better in the near future.

Therefore, it is highly likely that tick-borne diseases are here to stay and will become an increasing problem.