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

Five-year View

Ticks are only matched by mosquitoes as vectors of disease. A wide variety of pathogens that can be propagated and transmitted by ticks infect both humans and wildlife or domesticated animals. During the past two decades, however, the scientific landscape of tick-borne diseases has changed significantly thanks to advances in, mainly, the molecular biology. Several new rickettsial and ehrlichial diseases, and new Borrelia and Babesia genotypes have been recognized, and improved diagnostics have enabled the medical world to better manage this emerging problem. In the last decades, Europe has witnessed a steady increase in cases of TBE and Lyme disease, while anaplasmosis and rickettsioses 'emerged'. Climate and climate change directly and indirectly influences ticks, their habitat, hosts, reservoir animals and the distribution of tick-transmitted pathogens, and will likely be the main problem Europe will have to address in the coming years.