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Title: Spatiotemporal activity of the Ixodes ricinus tick in England
Author: McGinley, Liz
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 4974
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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The Ixodes ricinus tick is an opportunistic, generalist species, capable of feeding on multiple hosts. It is the vector of several pathogens of human and veterinary concern. In the UK, this tick is the primary vector of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the causative bacterial agent of Lyme borreliosis. In recent years, the number of laboratory confirmed cases of Lyme borreliosis has increased in the UK, potentially due to an increased awareness of the disease or possibly of a change in the distribution or epidemiology of the pathogen. The aim of this research was to investigate the spatiotemporal activity of this tick and identify key weather and microclimate related variables which influence seasonal increases in its host seeking behaviour. This was achieved by deploying a comprehensive field monitoring strategy where multiple sites were monitored for I. ricinus activity over a number of years. The seasonality of I. ricinus activity was analysed alongside localised weather data to determine if specific weather related cues were associated with increases and declines in host seeking behaviour. Additionally, I. ricinus specimens collected from different locations during the study were analysed for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Peak I. ricinus nymphal questing activity in spring was found to be associated with seven consecutive days of mean temperature of ≥ 7 °C, while an increase in potential evapotranspiration towards 25 mm/week was associated with a decline in host seeking activity following spring peak. Investigations of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato infection in I. ricinus specimens, confirmed the widespread geographical distribution of this bacterial complex, and the presence of several genospecies of human pathogenic potential.
Supervisor: Morse, Andy ; Medlock, Jolyon ; Baylis, Matthew ; Torr, Steve Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral