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Table 6 Main findings and suggestions for further research priorities

From: Spatial disaggregation of tick occurrence and ecology at a local scale as a preliminary step for spatial surveillance of tick-borne diseases: general framework and health implications in Belgium

  Current knowledge Suggestions for future research priorities
Tick presence • The current national list of occurring tick species (not previously available) • Search for tick species recorded in neighbouring countries country (targeting prefered host species or habitat)
Tick distribution • A first distribution map for Ixodes ricinus based on occurrences which highlights presence of the species in all the provinces • Build up a distribution model for exophilic species such as Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus based on habitat preferences and distribution of other influencing species
• Current very partial knowledge of distribution for the other tick species • Build up a distribution model for nidiculous species based on distribution of major host species
  • Perform a systematic tick survey across the country
Tick hosts/ reservoirs • Provide for each tick a list of hosts on which they have been recorded in the country • For each local vertebrate species check potential host status for each tick species or potential influence on tick population
  • Map the distribution of relevant species
Presence of pathogens • Potential presence of pathogens such as Borrelia burgdoferi s.l. in many tick species • Check the pathogenicity of each micro-organisms species
• List of microorganisms potentially present locally or aborad in local ticks species • For pathogenic microorganisms check vector status of associated ticks Identify presence of potential reservoirs for pathogens (tick/ hosts)
• List of tick/ micro-organisms associations • Investigate pathogen distribution across species to better comprehend
  • risk before modelling risk map
Pathogen distribution • First map of (suspected) pathogens found in ticks • Search for additional pathogens in ticks of the country
  • Make a pathogen distribution map (found in ticks, hosts, reservoirs)
Human-vector contact   • Use public knowledge from nature defense group, scouts, veterinary, general practitioner to localise and quantify tick bites
Tick-borne diseases risk map • Some hot spot with highest I. ricinus abundance are highlighted but because of unreliable sampling those should be further investigated • Investigate presence and prevalence of pathogenic species
  • Make a countrywide standardised survey to allow comparing abundance between sites.
  • In a given area, what is the probability 1) to get a tick bite, 2) that this tick was infected with pathogens 3) infected by which pathogen(s)