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The ecology of ticks, tick-borne diseases and biological tick control in Baden-Württemberg

The ecology of ticks, tick-borne diseases and biological tick control in Baden-Württemberg

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 57(5): 549-556

ISSN/ISBN: 1436-9990

PMID: 24781912

DOI: 10.1007/s00103-013-1929-5

Ticks and tick-borne diseases are of great significance for the health of humans and animals. However, the factors influencing their distribution and dynamics are inadequately known. In a project financed by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy Industry, as part of the program BWPLUS, interdisciplinary specialists work together to determine the influence of weather, (micro)climate, habitat, land use, human activities, and the population dynamics of host animals on the distribution and abundance of ticks and the diseases that they transmit in Baden-Württemberg. The project comprises four modules: the large-scale distribution of ticks in Baden-Württemberg (module 1), detailed studies of host-tick-pathogen interaction in relation to the microclimate (module 2), and the spatial occurrence of important tick-borne pathogens (module 3). The fourth module involves the comprehensive analysis and synthesis of all data in order to determine the relative importance of the factors studied and to develop a risk model. Recently, intensive investigations into tick control have been undertaken using various entomopathogenic fungi and nematodes as well as a parasitoid wasp. Our aim was to determine whether these natural enemies could be used to effectively reduce the number of free-living ticks.

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