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Virus Detection in Questing Ticks is not a Sensitive Indicator for Risk Assessment of Tick-Borne Encephalitis in Humans


Paweł Stefanoff, Martin Pfeffer, Wiebke Hellenbrand, Justyna Rogalska, Ferdinand Rühe, Agata Makówka, Jerzy Michalik, Beata Wodecka, Anna Rymaszewska, Dorota Kiewra, Anna Baumann-Popczyk, Gerhard Dobler.


Zoonoses Public Health 2013; 60(3): 215-26.

An important paper summarizing many years efforts of the Polish and German teams to establish a new type of surveillance for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) risk areas. Because the natural life cycle of the TBE virus is independent of human activity, researchers called for setting up a better monitoring of TBE risk by looking for the virus by screening ticks or rodents, since the virus persists in their organisms for their entire life. Independently we attempted to set up such surveillance in Poland and Germany, and we tested large amounts of ticks for the virus in defined geographic areas. We did not find any single infected tick. Based on our results and a review of published investigations from 20 years, we argumented that for TBE vector surveillance does not make sense.

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