Predicting the emergence of tick-borne infections based on climatic changes in Korea

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Chae, Joon-seok; Adjemian, Jennifer Zipser; Kim, Heung-Chul; Ko, Sungjin; Klein, Terry A.; Foley, Janet
Issue Date
Mary Ann Liebert
Vector-Borne Zoonotic Dis 2008; 8:265-276
Tick-borne infectionsAnaplasma phagocytophilumEhrlichia chaffeensisPCRTicksWild rodentsPredictionClimate
Granulocytic anaplasmosis (GA) and monocytic ehrlichiosis (ME) are maintained in wild rodent reservoirs and
tick vectors in the Republic of Korea. This study investigated the prevalence of 2 tick-borne pathogens, Anaplasma
phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia chaffeensis, in wild rodents and ticks in central Korea to identify any significant
associations with existing or changing climatic conditions. Specifically, the goal of this study was to develop simple
models for the probability of occurrence of an epidemic of GA or ME as a function of climate in an area in a
given year. Climatic data from 2 regions, Munsan and Dongducheon, Gyeonggi, in central Korea (between the
Demilitarized Zone and Seoul, latitude between 37°N–38°N and longitude between 127°E–128°E), were analyzed
with respect to the prevalence of GA and ME in Paju, Yoncheon, Pocheon, and Dongducheon for the period from
2001 to 2005. Rates of A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis decreased as the total yearly precipitation levels and
daily humidity increased, and as the daily mean sunshine hours decreased. Rates of A. phagocytophilum and E.
chaffeensis from rodent ticks and rodents increased in the fall season. Linear regression analyses evaluating the
numbers of positive samples by sample type found that rodent ticks were 6.64 times more likely to be actively infected
with A. phagocytophilum than grass ticks or rodents, though the likelihood of any samples testing positive
for this pathogen decreased by 0.17 as the annual mean level of precipitation increased by 1 mm. For E. chaffeensis,
rodents were 15.67 times more likely to be infected than ticks. Logistic regression analyses evaluating each
sample separately found that the odds of infection with A. phagocytophilum were nearly 5 times greater for rodents
than ticks. In these analyses, precipitation was one potential factor to account for the prevalence of tickborne
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College of Veterinary Medicine (수의과대학)Dept. of Veterinary Medicine (수의학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_수의학과)
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