Scientific Opinion on Geographic Distribution of Tick-borne Infections and their Vectors in Europe and the other Regions of the Mediterranean Basin
This report is the second of a series of two technical assessments of the role of ticks in transmission of animal diseases and zoonoses in Eurasia. A previous published scientific opinion (EFSA Journal 2010; (8)8, 1703) focused on two diseases- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and African swine fever in Eurasia. The aim of this report is to provide an overview of the geographic distribution of tick species which have proven involvement in the transmission of pathogens causing animal diseases and zoonoses in Eurasia. The report provides maps of the region that display the occurrences of ticks and tick-borne pathogens. Systematic literature review of available publications for the last 10 years and other available literature from the experts were used in the retrieval of the geographical reported cases for the presence of ticks and tick borne pathogens. The report includes a description of the factors that influence the dynamics of the relevant tick species and identify possible high-risk areas in the EU for introduction, considering the biological and ecological characteristics of the ticks and their ability to adapt to new areas. Findings from this review have provided evidence of the extent of ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) in geographical ranges and the existing risk areas that should be considered as baseline information to assess potential risk of these diseases. The report indicates the validity of using available literature to support the presence of ticks and TBDs without further predication using weather and other environmental factors associated with the ticks‟ survival. The report concluded that animal and human movement play more impact on the spread of the ticks and TBDs. Climate changes and flight pattern of migratory birds can influence the presence and spread of the ticks and TBDs, but have not been determined to be responsible for the widespread distribution of ticks.