Ticks on the Channel Islands and implications for public health

Emma L. Gillingham, Kayleigh M. Hansford, Scott Meadows, Julia Henney, Filip Wieckowski, Luis M. Hernández-Triana, Ivan Muscat, Joseph Muscat, Clara Beckert, Nadya I. Nikolova, Ben Cull, Jolyon M. Medlock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Channel Islands are British Crown dependencies located in the English Channel to the west of the Normandy coast in northern France. Whilst there have been studies investigating tick occurrence and distribution in different habitats on the mainland of the UK and in France, the Channel Islands have been relatively understudied. As such, little is known about whether the sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus, is present, and whether there is a potential risk of Lyme borreliosis on the Channel Islands. To ascertain the presence of I. ricinus on the three largest islands in the archipelago: Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney, surveys of ticks questing in the vegetation and ticks feeding on hosts were undertaken during April and May 2016. Across all three islands, the highest numbers of ticks were found in woodland habitats. Ixodes ricinus was the predominant questing tick species found on Jersey, and Ixodes ventalloi the most common questing tick species on Alderney and Guernsey, with little or no evidence of questing I. ricinus on either island. During field studies on small mammals, I. ricinus was the predominant tick species feeding on Jersey bank voles (Myodes glareolus caesarius), with Ixodes hexagonus the most common species infesting hedgehogs on Guernsey. We propose that the greater diversity of small mammals on Jersey may be important in supporting immature stages of I. ricinus, in contrast to Guernsey and Alderney. Morphological identification of tick species was confirmed by PCR sequencing based on amplification of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit one (cox1) gene (COI DNA barcoding). To date, there have been few records of human tick bites in the Channel Islands, suggesting that the current risk from tick-borne disease may be low, but continued reporting of any human tick bites, along with reporting of cases of Lyme borreliosis will be important for continued assessment of the impact of tick-borne diseases in the Channel Islands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101405
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ixodes frontalis
  • Ixodes hexagonus
  • Ixodes ricinus
  • Ixodes ventalloi
  • Small mammals
  • Tick establishment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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  • Cite this

    Gillingham, E. L., Hansford, K. M., Meadows, S., Henney, J., Wieckowski, F., Hernández-Triana, L. M., Muscat, I., Muscat, J., Beckert, C., Nikolova, N. I., Cull, B., & Medlock, J. M. (Accepted/In press). Ticks on the Channel Islands and implications for public health. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 11(3), [101405]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2020.101405