Importation of ticks on companion animals and the risk of spread of tick-borne diseases to non-endemic regions in europe

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Buczek, Alicja
Buczek, Weronika
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Increased human mobility elevates the risk of exposure of companion animals travelling with their owners or imported from other regions to tick attacks. In this study, we highlight the potential role of dogs and cats taken for tourist trips or imported animals in the spread of ticks and tick-borne pathogens. The Rhipicephalus sanguineus tick, which is a vector of numerous pathogens causing diseases in animals and humans, is imported most frequently from endemic areas to many European countries. Additionally, alien tick species with high epizootic and epidemiological importance can be imported on dogs from other continents. Companion animals play an even greater role in the spread of autochthonous tick species and transmission of tick pathogens to other animals and humans. Although the veterinary and medical effects of the parasitism of ticks carried by companion animals travelling with owners or imported animals are poorly assessed, these animals seem to play a role in the rapid spread of tick-borne diseases. Development of strategies for protection of the health of companion animals in different geographic regions should take into account the potential emergence of unknown animal tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted by imported ticks.