University of Oulu

Jani J. Sormunen, Tommi Andersson, Jouni Aspi, Jaana Bäck, Tony Cederberg, Noora Haavisto, Hanna Halonen, Jari Hänninen, Jasmin Inkinen, Niko Kulha, Maija Laaksonen, John Loehr, Satu Mäkelä, Katja Mäkinen, Joanna Norkko, Riku Paavola, Pauliina Pajala, Tuukka Petäjä, Anna Puisto, Ella Sippola, Martin Snickars, Janne Sundell, Niko Tanski, Antti Uotila, Ella-Maria Vesilahti, Eero J. Vesterinen, Silja Vuorenmaa, Hannu Ylönen, Jari Ylönen, Tero Klemola, Monitoring of ticks and tick-borne pathogens through a nationwide research station network in Finland, Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, Volume 11, Issue 5, 2020, 101449, ISSN 1877-959X,

Monitoring of ticks and tick-borne pathogens through a nationwide research station network in Finland

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Author: Sormunen, Jani J.1,2; Andersson, Tommi3; Aspi, Jouni4;
Organizations: 1Biodiversity Unit, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
2Deparment of Biology, University of Turku, Finland
3Kevo Subarctic Research Institute, Biodiversity Unit, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6Environmental and Marine Biology, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
7Tvärminne Zoological Station, University of Helsinki, Hanko, Finland
8Archipelago Research Institute, Biodiversity Unit, University of Turku, Finland
9Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
10Lammi Biological Station, University of Helsinki, Lammi, Finland
11Oulanka Research Station, University of Oulu, Kuusamo, Finland
12Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
13Konnevesi Research Station, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
14Bothnian Bay Research Station, Oulu Biodiversity Services, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-07-01


In 2015 a long-term, nationwide tick and tick-borne pathogen (TBP) monitoring project was started by the Finnish Tick Project and the Finnish Research Station network (RESTAT), with the goal of producing temporally and geographically extensive data regarding exophilic ticks in Finland. In the current study, we present results from the first four years of this collaboration.

Ticks were collected by cloth dragging from 11 research stations across Finland in May–September 2015–2018 (2012–2018 in Seili). Collected ticks were screened for twelve different pathogens by qPCR: Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, Borrelia valaisiana, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia miyamotoi, Babesia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia spp., Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Francisella tularensis, Bartonella spp. and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV).

Altogether 15 067 Ixodes ricinus and 46 Ixodes persulcatus were collected during 68 km of dragging. Field collections revealed different seasonal activity patterns for the two species. The activity of I. persulcatus adults (only one nymph detected) was unimodal, with activity only in May–July, whereas Ixodes ricinus was active from May to September, with activity peaks in September (nymphs) or July–August (adults). Overall, tick densities were higher during the latter years of the study. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato were the most common pathogens detected, with 48.9 ± 8.4% (95% Cl) of adults and 25.3 ± 4.4% of nymphs carrying the bacteria. No samples positive for F. tularensis, Bartonella or TBEV were detected.

This collaboration project involving the extensive Finnish Research Station network has ensured enduring and spatially extensive, long-term tick data collection to the foreseeable future.

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Series: Ticks and tick-borne diseases
ISSN: 1877-959X
ISSN-E: 1877-9603
ISSN-L: 1877-959X
Volume: 11
Issue: 5
Article number: 101449
DOI: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2020.101449
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkkos Foundation, Finland, and Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (