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Infection of Ixodes ricinus by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato by in peri-urban forests of France

Lyme borreliosis is the most common tick-borne disease in the northern hemisphere. In Europe, it is transmitted by Ixodes ticks that carries bacteria belonging to the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. Our study was focused on peri-urban forests of Île-de-France. These forests are frequented by many visitors and the risk of exposure to tick bites is high. One of them, the Sénart forest, is located 30 km south of Paris (in the Île-de-France region) and has a large number of visitors (3 million per year in the late 1990s). This forest has the characteristics of being partly invaded by chipmunks (Tamias sibiricus). The chipmunk has been introduced from Eurasia, particularly Siberia, China and Korea. The first individuals were released by their owners at the western end of the Sénart forest, in the 1970s. The northeastern part of the forest was colonized recently. Our current study aims to evaluate the evolution of the infection of Ixodes ricinus by Borrelia burgdorferi sl. by comparing the results obtained during 3 years and to determine the consequences of the proliferation of this non-native rodent species, Tamias sibiricus, on the risk of transmission of Lyme borreliosis. For this purpose, we analyzed the rate of infection and the density of infected ticks during 2008, 2009 and 2011 in several locations of the Sénart forest. These results were compared to those obtained for ticks collected in 2009 in two other peri-urban forests of Île-de-France (Rambouillet and Notre-Dame) that have not yet been colonized by these rodents. The density of nymphs, adults as well as the infected density of nymphs and adults were compared according to several factors: location of tick collection in the forest,  presence or absence of chipmunks, type of vegetation, temperature and humidity.

Project status : Closed