In Germany, most of newly infections by FSME occur in Baden-Württemberg. The health fund Techniker Krankenkasse already classifies 42 of 44 counties as risk areas. Beside FSME further pathogens of relevance to human health, such as Borrelia and Ricketsia are transmitted by ticks. In Baden-Württemberg the tick species Ixodes ricinius is the main vector of these pathogens. The pathogens itself often are from small mammals which are used by ticks in juvenile state as hosts.
Factors responsible for the distribution of ticks their population density and amplitudes as well as the prevalence of pathogens are not well understood yet. However, detailed knowledge on the impact of factors on tick populations, such as host population, microclimate, habitat structure land use etc., would provide the possibility to depict the spatio-temporal distribution of ticks and the associated pathogens also with respect to the consequences of climate change.
Thus, this project aims to analyse the habitat structures and the microclimate favoring the occurrence of ticks and pathogens together with partners from the KIT Insitute of Zoology, the University of Hohenheim and the State health Agency of baden-Württemberg. Further information are available at www.tick.kit.edu .