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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Taking landscape structure into account to better understand the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases

Ticks gorged on the head of a bank vole, one of the most common small rodent species in our agro-ecosystems.  Photo Yann Rantier (OSCAR project).
Taking landscape structure into account to better understand the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases

With several hundred thousand human cases per year, tick-borne diseases are the most important vector-borne diseases in Europe. They involve a wide variety of wild and domestic vertebrate species that are feeding hosts used by ticks for their blood meals but also reservoirs of infectious agents transmitted by these mites. The mosaic of habitats that make up bocage landscapes (forests, hedges, crops, meadows...) influences the spatial distribution of these pathogens. The rate of infection by tick-borne bacteria varies in small rodents sampled at sites with different woodland areas and hedgerow densities. The frequency of anaplasmosis bacteria increased with the proportion of wooded habitat, which in turn correlated with the abundance of woodland mice that are effective reservoirs of this pathogen. For Lyme disease bacteria, the greater the interface between woodland and grassland, the more frequent they are in small rodents. These results illustrate the need to consider community and landscape ecology to better understand the epidemiology of these diseases.

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Ticks gorged on the head of a bank vole, one of the most common small rodent species in our agro-ecosystems.  Photo Yann Rantier (OSCAR project).