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Review Article Open Access

Blood-Sucking Ticks (Acari: Ixodoidea) and their Mammalian Hosts in the Urban Environment: A Review

Abstract

The problem of urban ticks arose from the increased rate of urbanization that has taken place after the WWII. Expansion of municipal boundaries encompasses adjacent territories so that large areas of wilderness, together with all their inhabitants, find themselves incorporated into city limits. Current strategies of conservation and preservation of biodiversity include creation of green corridors and other forms of connectivity between wilderness and urban areas, and between green patches within cities. All this allows various mammals and birds from their native habitats to appear in cities and to establish permanent urban populations. Middle-sized and large animals provide adult ticks with blood meal thus creating conditions for establishment of tick populations. The independent tick populations can persist in urban forests, parks, private properties, old cemeteries etc. Some animals can maintain tick-transmitted pathogens, and in some cases can serve as competent reservoir hosts for certain human and animal pathogens. Urban populations of such animals are of importance in circulating these pathogens within municipal boundaries. Cases of human infection after tick bites have been reported in many cities. Thus enlargement of urban green areas followed by their settlement by mammals and birds increase opportunities for establishment urban tick populations with the resulting threat to the health of urban dwellers.

Igor Uspensky

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