About this Research Topic
Ticks are ranked only second to mosquitoes in the importance of the pathogens they transmit to humans and animals, but they are first when considering the diversity of these pathogens: parasites, bacteria and viruses. The pathogens circulate in permanent foci, commonly around complex epidemiological cycles, involving reservoirs and vertebrate hosts that feed the ticks. There is an increasing awareness about the tick-borne pathogens of veterinary and public health importance. Surveys during the last decade commonly reported a spread of ticks into new areas and/or an increase in their density. Researchers uncovered several scenarios behind the modifications in the landscape of tick-borne pathogens: changes in social habits, culture abandonment, climate trends or increased availability of hosts. These are the main reasons supporting the increased persistence of ticks and circulation of pathogens. Most immature stages of ticks (larvae and nymphs) feed on rodents and/or birds, while adults feed commonly on large animals (such as carnivores or artiodactyls). This is an important feature of the epidemiological routes of tick-borne pathogens because ticks are transported and disseminated only by natural hosts (ticks do not crawl or fly).
Given this, birds play a major role in the transportation and dissemination of the ticks compared to other vertebrates. Ticks spread by birds is not restricted to the short-distance movements of these hosts but occurs also during the migratory flights of birds between Africa and Europe in spring. This migration is acknowledged as one of the main factors involved in the spread of pathogens into the European continent, in areas previously considered free of the respective pathogens. It has been reported that more than two billion birds fly between breeding grounds in Europe and non-breeding areas in Africa in spring and autumn. Many migratory bird species can host immature ticks, thus spreading ticks into new areas. Until recently, the general belief was that these ticks could not survive the hard winters of central and northern Europe. However, the trends of climate and the agricultural changes seem to provide a suitable environment in which introduced exotic ticks could survive.
The aim of the Research Topic is to investigate, evaluate and discuss the possible introduction of exotic tick species and tick-borne pathogens via migratory birds. The attention will be focused on tick-borne pathogens that represent a public health threat such as Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) virus, Rickettsia species, Coxiella etc. Our interest is to highlight the role of migratory birds in spreading tick pathogens in new territories and CCHF virus is one of the best examples, raising concerns in the last several years everywhere in Europe. Research related to epidemiology, novel aspects related to circulating strains and cluster origin of the known genotypes, and other potential factors that could contribute to the circulation and establishment in the new regions and risks for public health are the targeted topics.
The Tick and Tick-Borne Pathogen Conference is the biggest scientific event in the field and is organized every 3 years. We are pleased to host the 10th Tick and Tick-Borne Pathogen Conference in one of the most well-preserved wetlands in the world, the unique landscape of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. The target audience include researchers in the field of ticks and tick-borne diseases of humans and animals, epidemiologists, medical doctors, immunologists, veterinarians, biologists, ecologists, etc. The conference will be held at Puflene Resort in Murighiol, Danube Delta, Romania between 24 and 28 August 2020 and is organized by the Department of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca, Romania in collaboration with the Danube Delta Research Institute in Tulcea. The scientific topics cover: Taxonomy and evolution; Genetics and genomics; Ecology and epidemiology; Spatial modeling; Diagnosis and treatment; Immunity and vaccines; Infection and pathogenesis.
Keywords: tick-born disease, parasites, infectious disease, migration, bird migration
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