Ticks and tick-borne pathogens in Austria

One of our research focuses is centred on studying the prevalence of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in Austria. Our goal is to keep a close eye on the presence of medically and veterinarianially significant ticks while also screening them using molecular tools to determine the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens.

Recently we published a paper describing the investigation of Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from recreational areas in Vienna. In this paper, we collected ticks at Deutschordenswald, Donauinsel, Grüner Prater, Lainzer Tiergarten, Nationalpark Lobau, Schottenwald and Steinhofgründe.  DNA was extracted from these ticks and subsequently screened using PCR, the reverse line blot hybridisation assay, and DNA sequencing to determine the prevalence of tick-borne diseases within these locations.

Our significant findings were that 46.2% of the ticks collected in 2019 and 29.6% in 2020 were positive for at least one pathogen.

The most often found pathogens were Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Rickettsia spp. Followed by B. miyamotoi, Babesia spp., A. phagocytophilum and Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis.

The prevalence of ticks and tick-borne pathogens changes over the years and requires constant surveillance to keep up-to-date and determine potential (new) risks early on.

Want to contribute to the studies?

We are highly interested in ticks obtained from the field, your pet, or yourself, whether they are alive or dead. To ensure their containment, kindly place them in a secure tube or container from which they cannot escape, add a note indicating the location (preferably GPS coordinates) of where the ticks were found, and mail them to us at the following address:

Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology
Research Group on Ticks and Tick-Borne Microorganisms
Kinderspitalgasse 15, 1090 Vienna, Austria