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25 Apr 2023
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The distribution, phenology, host range and pathogen prevalence of Ixodes ricinus in France: a systematic map and narrative review

An extensive review of Ixodes ricinus in European France

Recommended by based on reviews by Ana Palomar and 1 anonymous reviewer

Ticks are obligate, bloodsucking, nonpermanent ectoparasitic arthropods. Among them, Ixodes ricinus is a classic example of an extreme generalist tick, presenting a highly permissive feeding behavior using different groups of vertebrates as hosts, such as mammalian (including humans), avian and reptilian species (Hoogstraal & Aeschlimann, 1982; Dantas-Torresa & Otranto, 2013). This ecological adaptation can account for the broad geographical distribution of I. ricinus populations, which extends from the western end of the European continent to the Ural Mountains in Russia, and from northern Norway to the Mediterranean basin, including the North African countries - Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia ( The contact with different hosts also promotes the exposure/acquisition and transmission of various pathogenic agents (viruses, bacteriae, protists and nematodes) of veterinary and medical relevance (Aeschlimann et al., 1979). As one of the prime ticks found on humans, this species is implicated in diseases such as Lyme borreliosis, Spotted Fever Group rickettsiosis, Human Anaplasmosis, Human Babesiosis and Tick-borne Encephalitis (Velez et al., 2023). 

The climate change projections drawn for I. ricinus, in the scenario of global warming, point for the expansion/increase activity in both latitude and altitude (Medlock et al., 2013). The adequacy of vector modeling is relaying in the proper characterization of complex biological systems. Thus, it is essential to increase knowledge on I. ricinus, focusing on aspects such as genetic background, ecology and eco-epidemiology on a microscale but also at a country and region level, due to possible local adaptations of tick populations and genetic drift. 

In the present systematic revision, Perez et al. (2023) combine old and recently published data (mostly up to 2020) regarding I. ricinus distribution, phenology, host range and pathogen association in continental France and Corsica Island. Based on a keyword search of peer-reviewed papers on seven databases, as well as other sources of grey literature (mostly, thesis), the authors have synthesized information on: 1) Host parasitism to detect potential differences in host use comparing to other areas in Europe; 2) The spatiotemporal distribution of I. ricinus, to identify possible geographic trends in tick density, variation in activity patterns and the influence of environmental factors; 3) Tick-borne pathogens detected in this species, to better assess their spatial distribution and variation in exposure risk. 

As pointed out by both reviewers, this work clearly summarizes the information regarding I. ricinus and associated microorganisms from European France. This review also identifies remaining knowledge gaps, providing a comparable basis to orient future research. This is why I chose to recommend Perez et al (2023)'s preprint for Peer Community Infections. 


Aeschlimann, A., Burgdorfer, W., Matile, H., Peter, O., Wyler, R. (1979) Aspects nouveaux du rôle de vecteur joué par Ixodes ricinus L. en Suisse. Acta Tropica, 36, 181-191.

Dantas-Torresa, F., Otranto, D. (2013) Seasonal dynamics of Ixodes ricinus on ground level and higher vegetation in a preserved wooded area in southern Europe. Veterinary Parasitology, 192, 253- 258.

Hoogstraal, H., Aeschlimann, A. (1982) Tick-host specificity. Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 55, 5-32.

Medlock, J.M., Hansford, K.M., Bormane, A., Derdakova, M., Estrada-Peña, A., George, J.C., Golovljova, I., Jaenson, T.G.T., Jensen, J.K., Jensen, P.M., Kazimirova, M., Oteo, J.A., Papa, A., Pfister, K., Plantard, O., Randolph, S.E., Rizzoli, A., Santos-Silva, M.M., Sprong, H., Vial, L., Hendrickx, G., Zeller, H., Van Bortel, W. (2013) Driving forces for changes in geographical distribution of Ixodes ricinus ticks in Europe. Parasites and Vectors, 6.

Perez, G., Bournez, L., Boulanger, N., Fite, J., Livoreil, B., McCoy, K., Quillery, E., René-Martellet, M., Bonnet, S. (2023) The distribution, phenology, host range and pathogen prevalence of Ixodes ricinus in France: a systematic map and narrative review. bioRxiv, ver. 1 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections.

Velez, R., De Meeûs, T., Beati, L., Younsi, H., Zhioua, E., Antunes, S., Domingos, A., Ataíde Sampaio, D., Carpinteiro, D., Moerbeck, L., Estrada-Peña, A., Santos-Silva, M.M., Santos, A.S. (2023) Development and testing of microsatellite loci for the study of population genetics of Ixodes ricinus Linnaeus, 1758 and Ixodes inopinatus Estrada-Peña, Nava & Petney, 2014 (Acari: Ixodidae) in the western Mediterranean region. Acarologia, 63, 356-372.

The distribution, phenology, host range and pathogen prevalence of *Ixodes ricinus* in France: a systematic map and narrative reviewGrégoire Perez, Laure Bournez, Nathalie Boulanger, Johanna Fite, Barbara Livoreil, Karen D. McCoy, Elsa Quillery, Magalie René-Martellet, and Sarah I. Bonnet<p style="text-align: justify;">The tick <em>Ixodes ricinus</em> is the most important vector species of infectious diseases in European France. Understanding its distribution, phenology, and host species use, along with the distribution and preva...Animal diseases, Behaviour of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Disease Ecology/Evolution, Ecohealth, Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Epidemiology, Geography of infectious diseases, Interactions between hosts and infectious ag...Ana Sofia Santos2022-12-06 14:52:44 View
27 Feb 2023
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African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest

A groundbreaking study using ants revealed a spectacular diversity of viruses in hardly accessible ecosystems like tropical forests

Recommended by based on reviews by Mart Krupovic and 1 anonymous reviewer

Deciphering the virome (the set or assemblage of viruses) of the Earth, from individual organisms to entire ecosystems, has become a key priority. The first step to better understanding the impact of viruses on the ecology and functions of ecosystems is to describe their diversity. Such knowledge opens the gates to a better assessment of global nutrient cycling or of the threat that viruses represent to individual health. This explains the increasing number of pioneering studies that are currently sequencing the complete or partial genome of thousands of new viruses [1].

In their exciting study, Fritz and collaborators [2], authors sampled 209 army ants (Genus Dorylus) to investigate the virus diversity in dense forests that researchers cannot easily access. Indeed, these ants live in colonies (21 were sampled) that can move 1 km per day, covering a significant area and attacking many invertebrate and vertebrate preys.  Each sample was sequenced by a protocol called VANA sequencing and allowing the enrichment of the sample in viral sequences [3], so improving the detection of viruses present at low abundance in the ant (and more specifically in its gut for viruses infecting preys). 

Around 45,000 contigs presented homologies with bacterial, plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate infecting viruses. Half could be assigned to 56 families and 157 genera of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Beyond this amazing harvest of new and known virus sequences using an original methodology, the results significantly improve the current frontiers of known viral taxonomy and diversity and raise exciting research tracks to expand them. 

As a preprint, several blogs or news of leading scientists and journals have already highlighted this study. For example, in the news section of Science magazine, Jon Cohen underlined the originality of the approach for virus hunting on Earth with the title “Armed with air samplers, rope tricks, and—yes—ants, virus hunters spot threats in new ways”[4]. Another example is the mention of the publication by Elisabeth Bik in her Microbiome Digest: she wrote, “An amazing read is a fresh preprint from Fritz and collaborator describing an exciting method of sampling in difficult-to-reach environments“ [5].

The paper from Fritz et al [2] thus represents a significant advance in virus ecology, as already recognized by early readers, and this is why I strongly recommend its publication in PCI Infections.


1. Edgar RC, Taylor J, Lin V, Altman T, Barbera P, Meleshko D, Lohr D, Novakovsky G, Buchfink B, Al-Shayeb B, Banfield JF, de la Peña M, Korobeynikov A, Chikhi R, Babaian A (2022) Petabase-scale sequence alignment catalyses viral discovery. Nature, 602, 142–147.

2. Fritz M, Reggiardo B, Filloux D, Claude L, Fernandez E, Mahé F, Kraberger S, Custer JM, Becquart P, Mebaley TN, Kombila LB, Lenguiya LH, Boundenga L, Mombo IM, Maganga GD, Niama FR, Koumba J-S, Ogliastro M, Yvon M, Martin DP, Blanc S, Varsani A, Leroy E, Roumagnac P (2023) African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest. bioRxiv, 2022.12.13.520061, ver. 4 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections.

3. François S, Filloux D, Fernandez E, Ogliastro M, Roumagnac P (2018) Viral Metagenomics Approaches for High-Resolution Screening of Multiplexed Arthropod and Plant Viral Communities. In: Viral Metagenomics: Methods and Protocols Methods in Molecular Biology. (eds Pantaleo V, Chiumenti M), pp. 77–95. Springer, New York, NY.

4. Cohen J (2023) Virus hunters test new surveillance tools. Science, 379, 16–17.

5. Ponsero A (2023) February 18th, 2023. Microbiome Digest - Bik’s Picks.

African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forestMatthieu Fritz, Berenice Reggiardo, Denis Filloux, Lisa Claude, Emmanuel Fernandez, Frederic Mahe, Simona Kraberger, Joy M. Custer, Pierre Becquart, Telstar Ndong Mebaley, Linda Bohou Kombila, Leadisaelle H. Lenguiya, Larson Boundenga, Illich M. M...<p style="text-align: justify;">In this study, we used a predator-enabled metagenomics strategy to sample the virome of a remote and difficult-to-access densely forested African tropical region. Specifically, we focused our study on the use of arm...Ecohealth, Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, One Health, Reservoirs, VirusesSebastien Massart2022-12-14 11:57:40 View
02 Jun 2023
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Multiple hosts, multiple impacts: the role of vertebrate host diversity in shaping mosquito life history and pathogen transmission

What you eat can eliminate you: bloodmeal sources and mosquito fitness

Recommended by based on reviews by Francisco C. Ferreira and 1 anonymous reviewer

​​Diptera-borne pathogens rank among the most serious health threats to vertebrate organisms around the world, particularly in tropical areas undergoing strong human impacts – e.g., urbanization and farming –, where social unrest and poor economies exacerbate the risk (Allen et al. 2017; Robles-Fernández et al. 2022). Although scientists have acquired a detailed knowledge on the life-history of malaria parasites (Pacheco and Escalante 2023), they still do not have enough information about their insect vectors to make informed management and preventive decisions (Santiago-Alarcon 2022).

In this sense, I am pleased to recommend the study of Vantaux et al. (2023), where authors conducted an experimental and theoretical study to analyzed how the diversity of blood sources (i.e., human, cattle, sheep, and chicken) affected the fitness of the human malaria parasite – Plasmodium falciparum – and its mosquito vector – Anopheles gambiae s.l.

The study was conducted in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Interestingly, authors did not find a significant effect of blood meal source on parasite development, and a seemingly low impact on the fitness of mosquitoes that were exposed to parasites. However, mosquitoes’ feeding rate, survival, fecundity, and offspring size were negatively affected by the type of blood meal ingested. In general, chicken blood represented the worst meal source for the different measures of mosquito fitness, and sheep blood seems to be the least harmful. This result was supported by the theoretical model, where vectorial capacity was always better when mosquitoes fed on sheep blood compared to cow and chicken blood. Thus, the knowledge generated by this study provides a pathway to reduce human infection risk by managing the diversity of farm animals. For instance, transmission to humans can decrease when chickens and cows represent most of the available blood sources in a village.

These results along with other interesting details of this study, represent a clear example of the knowledge and understanding of insect vectors that we need to produce in the future, particularly to manage and prevent hazards and risks (sensu Hoseini et al. 2017).


Allen T., et al., Global hotspots and correlates of emerging zoonotic diseases. Nat. Commun. 8, 1124. (2017).

Hosseini P.R., et al., Does the impact of biodiversity differ between emerging and endemic pathogens? The need to separate the concepts of hazard and risk. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 372, 20160129 (2017).

Pacheco M.A., and Escalante, A.A., Origin and diversity of malaria parasites and other Haemosporida. Trend. Parasitol. (2023)

Robles-Fernández A., et al., Wildlife susceptibility to infectious diseases at global scales. PNAS 119: e2122851119. (2022).

Santiago-Alarcon D. A meta-analytic approach to investigate mosquitoes’ (Diptera: Culicidae) blood feeding preferences from non-urban to urban environments. In: Ecology and Control of Vector-borne Diseases, vol. 7 (R.G. Gutiérrez-López, J.G. Logan, Martínez-de la Puente J., Eds). Pp. 161-177. Wageningen Academic Publishers. eISBN: 978-90-8686-931-2 | ISBN: 978-90-8686-379-2 (2022).

Vantaux A. et al. Multiple hosts, multiple impacts: the role of vertebrate host diversity in shaping mosquito life history and pathogen transmission. bioRxiv, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections (2023).

Multiple hosts, multiple impacts: the role of vertebrate host diversity in shaping mosquito life history and pathogen transmissionAmélie Vantaux, Nicolas Moiroux, Kounbobr Roch Dabiré, Anna Cohuet, Thierry Lefèvre<p style="text-align: justify;">The transmission of malaria parasites from mosquito to human is largely determined by the dietary specialization of <em>Anopheles mosquitoes</em> to feed on humans. Few studies have explored the impact of blood meal...Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Parasites, VectorsDiego Santiago-Alarcon2023-02-13 11:02:58 View
08 Aug 2023
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A global Corynebacterium diphtheriae genomic framework sheds light on current diphtheria reemergence

DIPHTOSCAN : A new tool for the genomic surveillance of diphtheria

Recommended by based on reviews by Ankur Mutreja and 2 anonymous reviewers

One of the greatest achievements of health sciences is the eradication of infectious diseases such as smallpox that in the past imposed a severe burden on humankind, through global vaccination campaigns. Moreover, progress towards the eradication of others such as poliomyelitis, dracunculiasis, and yaws is being made.

In contrast, other infections that were previously contained are reemerging, due to several factors, including lack of access to vaccines due to geopolitical reasons, the rise of anti-vaccine movements, and the constant mobility of infected persons from the endemic sites.

One of such disease is diphtheria, caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae and a few other related species such as C. ulcerans and C. pseudotuberculosis. Importantly, in France, diphtheria cases reported in 2022 increased 7-fold from the average of previously recorded cases per year in the previous 4 years and the situation in other European countries is similar.

Hence, as reported here, Hennart et al. (2023) developed DIPHTOSCAN, a free access bioinformatics tool with user-friendly interphase, aimed to easily identify, extract and interpret important genomic features such as the sublineage of the strain, the presence of the tox gene (as a string predictor for toxigenic disease) as well as genes coding other virulence factors such as fimbriae, and the presence of know resistant mechanisms towards antibiotics like penicillin and erythromycin currently used in the clinic to treat this infection.

The authors validated the performance of their tool with a large collection of genomes, including those obtained from the isolates of the 2022 outbreak in France, more than 1,200 other genomes isolated from France, Algeria, and Yemen, and more than 500 genomes from several countries from Europe, America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania that are available through the NCBI site.

DIPHTOSCAN will allow the rapid identification and surveillance of potentially dangerous strains such as those being tox-positive isolates and resistant to multiple drugs and/or first-line treatments and a better understanding of the epidemiology and evolution of this important reemerging disease.


Hennart M., Crestani C., Bridel S., Armatys N., Brémont S., Carmi-Leroy A., Landier A., Passet V., Fonteneau L., Vaux S., Toubiana J., Badell E. and Brisse S. (2023). A global Corynebacterium diphtheriae genomic framework sheds light on current diphtheria reemergence. bioRxiv, 2023.02.20.529124, ver 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by PCI Infections.

A global *Corynebacterium diphtheriae* genomic framework sheds light on current diphtheria reemergenceMelanie Hennart, Chiara Crestani, Sebastien Bridel, Nathalie Armatys, Sylvie Brémont, Annick Carmi-Leroy, Annie Landier, Virginie Passet, Laure Fonteneau, Sophie Vaux, Julie Toubiana, Edgar Badell, Sylvain Brisse<p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Background</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Diphtheria, caused by <em>Corynebacterium diphtheriae</em>, reemerges in Europe since 2022. Genomic sequencing can inform on transmission routes and g...Drug resistance, tolerance and persistence, Epidemiology, Evolution of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Genomics, functional genomics of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Microbiology of infections, Population genetics of hosts, infectiou...Rodolfo García-Contreras Ankur Mutreja 2023-03-09 16:02:27 View
19 Jul 2023
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A soft tick vector of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) nests

A four-year study reveals the potential role of the soft tick Ornithodoros maritimus in the transmission and circulation of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull colonies.

Recommended by based on reviews by Hélène Jourdan and Tahar Kernif

Worldwide, ticks and tick-borne diseases are a persistent example of problems at the One Health interface between humans, wildlife, and environment (1, 2). The management and prevention of ticks and tick-borne diseases require a better understanding of host, tick and pathogen interactions and thus get a better view of the tick-borne pathosystems.

In this study (3), the tick-borne pathosystem included three component species: first a seabird host, the Yellow-legged gull (YLG - Larus michahellis, Laridae), second a soft nidicolous tick (Ornithodoros maritimus, Argasidae, syn. Alectorobius maritimus) known to infest this host and third a blood parasite (Babesia sp. YLG, Piroplasmidae). In this pathosystem, authors investigated the role of the soft tick, Ornithodoros maritimus, as a potential vector of Babesia sp. YLG. They analyzed the transmission of Babesia sp. YLG by collecting different tick life stages from YLG nests during 4 consecutive years on the islet of Carteau (Gulf of Fos, Camargue, France). Ticks were dissected and organs were analyzed separately to detect the presence of Babesia sp DNA and to evaluate different transmission pathways.

While the authors detected Babesia sp. YLG DNA in the salivary glands of nymphs, females and males, this result reveals a strong suspicion of transmission of the parasite by the soft tick. Babesia sp. YLG DNA was also found in tick ovaries, which could indicate possible transovarial transmission. Finally, the authors detected Babesia sp. YLG DNA in several male testes and in endospermatophores, and notably in a parasite-free female (uninfected ovaries and salivary glands). These last results raise the interesting possibility of sexual transmission from infected males to uninfected females.

As pointed out by both reviewers, this is a nice study, well written and easy to read. All the results are new and allow to better understand the role of the soft tick, Ornithodoros maritimus, as a potential vector of Babesia sp. YLG. They finally question about the degree to which the parasite can be maintained locally by ticks and the epidemiological consequences of infection for both O. maritimus and its avian host. For all these reasons, I chose to recommend this article for Peer Community In Infections.


  1. Dantas-Torres et al (2012). Ticks and tick-borne diseases: a One Health perspective. Trends Parasitol. 28:437. 
  2. Johnson N et al (2022). One Health Approach to Tick and Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance in the United Kingdom. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 19:5833.
  3. Bonsergent C, Vittecoq M, Leray C, Jouglin M, Buysse M, McCoy KD, Malandrin L. A soft tick vector of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) nests. bioRxiv, 2023.03.24.534071, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections.
A soft tick vector of *Babesia* sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (*Larus michahellis*) nestsClaire Bonsergent, Marion Vittecoq, Carole Leray, Maggy Jouglin, Marie Buysse, Karen D. McCoy, Laurence Malandrin<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Babesia </em>sp. YLG has recently been described in Yellow-legged gull (<em>Larus michahellis</em>) chicks and belongs to the Peircei clade in the new classification of Piroplasms. Here, we studied <em>Babesia <...Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Eukaryotic pathogens/symbionts, Interactions between hosts and infectious agents/vectors, Parasites, VectorsThomas Pollet2023-03-29 14:33:40 View
03 Nov 2023
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Longitudinal Survey of Astrovirus infection in different bat species in Zimbabwe: Evidence of high genetic Astrovirus diversity

High diversity and evidence for inter-species transmission in astroviruses surveyed from bats in Zibabwae

Recommended by based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

Most infectious diseases of humans are zoonoses, and many of these come from particularly species diverse reservoir taxa, such as bats, birds, and rodents (1). Because of our changing landscape, there is increased exposure of humans to wildlife diseases reservoirs, yet we have little basic information about prevalence, hotspots, and transmission factors of most zoonotic pathogens. Viruses are particularly worrisome as a public health risk due to their fast mutation rates and well-known cross-species transmission abilities. There is a global push to better survey wildlife for viruses (2), but these studies are difficult, and the problem is vast. Astroviruses (AstVs) comprise a diverse family of ssRNA viruses known from mammals and birds. Astroviruses can cause gastroenteritis in humans and are more common in elderly and young children, but the relationship of human to non-human Astroviridae as well as transmission routes are unclear.  AstVs have been detected at high prevalence in bats in multiple studies (3,4), but it is unclear what factors, such as co-infecting viruses and bat reproductive phenology, influence viral shedding and prevalence.
In this recommended study, Vimbiso et al. (5) study the prevalence and diversity of astroviruses in different insectivorous and frugivorous chiropteran species roosting in trees, caves and building basements across Zimbabwe, a region never investigated for astroviruses. Using both pooled population samples and individual samples from 11 different sites, the authors screened for astrovirus prevalence via RT-PCR and identified bat taxa using mitochondrial gene sequencing. An overall prevalence of 10-14% infection was recorded. No clear association of increased astrovirus and coronavirus coinfection was detected, and although astrovirus infection varied over the season, it did not do so in consistent ways across the two primary sampling sites, Magweto and Chirundu. A phylogeny generated by sequencing all of the astrovirus positive samples showed evidence that most of the viral lineages are transmitting within species but across Zibabwae such that most phylogenetic lineages grouped viruses from the same host species together. However, there was ample evidence for interspecies transmission between bats. Finally, a small percentage of the total astrovirus diversity from Zibabwae clustered with sequences from humans. The timing and direction of the transmission between humans and bats need further investigation.
This study provides important baseline data about viral diversity and does an excellent job of capturing the spatial, temporal, host species, and sequence level dynamics of the astroviruses. There are clear limitations on how this study can be interpreted due to different sampling regimes and, in particular, the fact that each of the two primary sites was only explored for temporal variation over a single calendar year. That said, the grand diversity of astroviruses demonstrated in insectivorous bats in Zibabwae shows that we are only seeing the very tip of the iceberg with respect to viral diversity with zoonotic potential. As suggested by the reviewers, more studies like this are needed to understand the basic ecology of viruses and to aid in predicting epidemics.


1. Mollentze N, Streicker DG. Viral zoonotic risk is homogenous among taxonomic orders of mammalian and avian reservoir hosts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020 Apr 28;117(17):9423-30.
2. Carroll D, Daszak P, Wolfe ND, Gao GF, Morel CM, Morzaria S, et al. The Global Virome Project. Science. 2018 Feb 23;359(6378):872-4.
3. Lee SY, Son KD, Yong-Sik K, Wang SJ, Kim YK, Jheong WH, et al. Genetic diversity and phylogenetic analysis of newly discovered bat astroviruses in Korea. Arch Virol. 2018;163(11):3065-72.
4. Seltmann A, Corman VM, Rasche A, Drosten C, Czirják GÁ, Bernard H, et al. Seasonal Fluctuations of Astrovirus, But Not Coronavirus Shedding in Bats Inhabiting Human-Modified Tropical Forests. EcoHealth. 2017 Jun 1;14(2):272-84.
5. Vimbiso C, Hélène DN, Malika A, Getrude M, Valérie P, Ngoni C, et al. Longitudinal Survey of Astrovirus infection in different bat species in Zimbabwe: Evidence of high genetic Astrovirus diversity. bioRxiv, 2023.04.14.536987, ver. 6 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Infections.

Longitudinal Survey of Astrovirus infection in different bat species in Zimbabwe: Evidence of high genetic Astrovirus diversityVimbiso Chidoti, Helene De Nys, Malika Abdi, Getrudre Mashura, Valerie Pinarello, Ngoni Chiweshe, Gift Matope, Laure Guerrini, Davies Pfulenyi, Julien Cappelle, Ellen Mwandiringana, Dorothee Misse, Gori Elizabeth, Mathieu Bourgarel, Florian Liegeois<p>Astroviruses (AstVs) have been discovered in over 80 animal species including diverse bat species and avian species. A study on Astrovirus circulation and diversity in different insectivorous and frugivorous chiropteran species roosting in tree...Animal diseases, Epidemiology, Molecular genetics of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Reservoirs, Viruses, ZoonosesTim James2023-04-18 14:58:43 View
28 Sep 2023
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Influence of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the tick Ornithodoros moubata

The cost of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata

Recommended by based on reviews by Luciana Raggi Hoyos and Tuomas Aivelo

Ticks are amongst the most important pathogen vectors in medical and veterinary clinical settings worldwide (Dantas-Torres et al., 2012). Like other holobionts, ticks live in association with a diverse microbiota. It includes tick-borne pathogens (TBP) and other microorganisms that have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the physiology of the host and can also affect the transmission of TBP to animals or humans. In this microbiota, primary endosymbionts, which are obligatory and inheritable, play a role in tick reproduction, the host defense and adaptation to varying environmental conditions (Duron et al., 2018). However, the effect of the microbiota structure and of the endosymbionts on tick fitness and reproduction is not well known. The soft tick Ornithodoros moubata, a parasite known to transmit African swine fever virus (Vial, 2009), is known to host Francisella-like and Rickettsia endosymbionts (Duron et al., 2018). These endosymbionts carry genes involved in B vitamin synthesis which may be supplemented to the host (Bonnet & Pollet, 2021). 

Here, the authors investigated the role of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of Ornithodoros moubata by conducting two experiments (Taraveau et al., 2023). First, they tested the effect of antibiotic treatment of 366 first-stage nymphs on the main endosymbionts Francisella-like and Rickettsia, and measured the endosymbionts presence overtime by qPCR. Second, they surveyed the effect of antibiotic treatment with or without the addition of B vitamins on the survival and reproductive fitness of 132 females over 50 days. This second experiment intended to identify whether the endosymbionts have an effect on the host reproduction or on its nutrition. The supplementation of B vitamin did not have a drastic effect on tick fitness or reproductive traits. However, antibiotic treatments reduced the presence of endosymbionts while increasing tick survival, suggesting a potential cost of hosting endosymbionts on the tick fitness.

The authors did a lot of work to thoroughly follow the propositions from Dr Raggi, Dr Aivelo and myself to reconstruct and to revise the manuscript. I believe that the manuscript now reads very well and the answers to the reviews also add some value to the manuscript. As Dr Aivelo pointed out, “this study follows the traditional path of so-called population perturbation studies, where ecologists have administered antibiotics or antihelminths to different animals and seen how the community changes and what effects this has on the host fitness and survival”. As both reviewers stated, results from this study are valuable and provide important basic knowledge that will likely help conduct future experiments on tick microbiota. This recommendation is the result of the thorough reviewing work of Dr Aivelo and Dr Raggi which I warmly thank.

Bonnet, S. I., & Pollet, T. (2021). Update on the intricate tango between tick microbiomes and tick‐borne pathogens. Parasite Immunology, 43(5), e12813.

Dantas-Torres, F., Chomel, B. B., & Otranto, D. (2012). Ticks and tick-borne diseases: A One Health perspective. Trends in Parasitology, 28(10), 437–446.

Duron, O., Morel, O., Noël, V., Buysse, M., Binetruy, F., Lancelot, R., Loire, E., Ménard, C., Bouchez, O., Vavre, F., & Vial, L. (2018). Tick-Bacteria Mutualism Depends on B Vitamin Synthesis Pathways. Current Biology, 28(12), 1896-1902.e5.

Taraveau, F., Pollet, T., Duhayon, M., Gardès, L., & Jourdan-Pineau, H. (2023). Influence of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the tick Ornithodoros moubata. bioRxiv, ver.3, peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections.

Vial, L. (2009). Biological and ecological characteristics of soft ticks (Ixodida: Argasidae) and their impact for predicting tick and associated disease distribution. Parasite, 16(3), 191–202.

Influence of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the tick *Ornithodoros moubata*Taraveau Florian, Pollet Thomas, Duhayon Maxime, Gardès Laëtitia, Jourdan-Pineau Hélène<p style="text-align: justify;">Over the past decade, many studies have demonstrated the crucial role of the tick microbiome in tick biology. The soft tick <em>Ornithodoros moubata</em> is a hematophagous ectoparasite of <em>Suidae</em>, best know...Mutualistic symbionts, Parasites, Pathogenic/Symbiotic Bacteria, Physiology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, VectorsAngélique Gobet2023-05-25 19:00:33 View
17 Jan 2024
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Assessing the dynamics of Mycobacterium bovis infection in three French badger populations

From disease surveillance to public action. Re-inforcing both epidemiological surveillance and data analysis: an illustration with Mycobacterium bovis

Recommended by based on reviews by Rowland Kao and 1 anonymous reviewer

Mycobacterium bovis, also called M. tuberculosis var. bovis, is a bacterium belonging to the M. tuberculosis complex (i.e., MTBC) and which can cause through zoonotic transmission another form of human tuberculosis (Tb). It is above all the agent of bovine tuberculosis (i.e., bTb) which affects not only cattle (wild or farmed) but also a large diversity of other wild mammals worldwide. An increasing number of infected animal cases are being discovered in many regions of the world, thus raising the problem of tuberculosis transmission, including to humans, more complex than previously thought. Efforts have been made in terms of vaccination or culling of populations of host carrier species, such as the badger for example, however leading to consequences of greater dispersion of the infectious agent. M. bovis shows a more or less significant capacity to persist outside its hosts, particularly in the environment under certain abiotic and biotic conditions. This bacillus can be transmitted and spread in many ways, including through aerosol, mucus and sputum, urine and feces, by direct contact with infected animals, their dead bodies or rather via their excreta or by inhalation of aerosols, depending on the host species concerned.

In this paper, Calenge and his collaborators (Callenge et al. 2024) benefited from a national surveillance program on M. bovis cases in wild species, set up in 2011 in France, i.e., Sylvatub, for detecting and monitoring M. bovis infection in European badger (Meles meles) populations. Sylvatub is a participatory program involving both national and local stakeholder systems in order to determine changes in bTb infection levels in domestic and wild animal species. This original work had two aims: to describe spatial disease dynamics in the three clusters under scrutiny using a complex Bayesian model; and to develop indicators for the monitoring of the M. bovis infection by stakeholders and decision-makers of the program. This paper is timely and very comprehensive.

In this cogent study, the authors illustrate this point by using epidemiological surveillance to obtain large amounts of data (which is generally lacking in human epidemiology, but more dramatically lacking in animal epidemiology) and a highly sophisticated biostatistical analysis (Callenge et al. 2024). It is in itself a demonstration of the current capabilities of population dynamics applied to infectious disease situations, in this case animal, in the rapidly developing discipline of disease ecology and evolution. One of the aims of the study is to propose statistical models that can be used by the different stakeholders in charge, for instance, of wildlife conservation or the regional or State veterinary services to assess disease risk in the most affected regions.


Assel AKHMETOVA​, Jimena GUERRERO​, Paul McADAM, Liliana CM SALVADOR​, Joseph CRISPELL​, John LAVERY​, Eleanor PRESHO​, Rowland R KAO​, Roman BIEK​, Fraser MENZIES​, Nigel TRIMBLE​, Roland HARWOOD​, P Theo PEPLER, Katarina ORAVCOVA​, Jordon GRAHAM​, Robin SKUCE​, Louis DU PLESSIS​, Suzan THOMPSON​, Lorraine WRIGHT​, Andrew W BYRNE​, Adrian R ALLEN. 2023. Genomic epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis infection in sympatric badger and cattle populations in Northern Ireland. Microbial Genomics 9: mgen001023.

Roman BIEK, Anthony O’HARE, David WRIGHT, Tom MALLON, Carl McCORMICK, Richard J ORTON, Stanley McDOWELL, Hannah TREWBY, Robin A SKUCE, Rowland R KAO. 2012. Whole genome sequencing reveals local transmission patterns of Mycobacterium bovis in sympatric cattle and badger populations. PLoS Pathogens 8: e1003008.

Clément CALENGE, Ariane PAYNE, Edouard REVEILLAUD, Céline RICHOMME, Sébastien GIRARD, Stephanie DESVAUX. 2024. Assessing the dynamics of Mycobacterium bovis infection in three French badger populations. bioRxiv, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Infections.

Marc CHOISY, Pejman ROHANI. 2006. Harvesting can increase severity of wildlife disease epidemics. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Ser. B 273: 2025-2034.

Shannon C DUFFY, Sreenidhi SRINIVASAN, Megan A SCHILLING, Tod STUBER, Sarah N DANCHUK, Joy S MICHAEL, Manigandan VENKATESAN, Nitish BANSAL, Sushila MAAN, Naresh JINDAL, Deepika CHAUDHARY, Premanshu DANDAPAT, Robab KATANI, Shubhada CHOTHE, Maroudam VEERASAMI, Suelee ROBBE-AUSTERMAN, Nicholas JULEFF, Vivek KAPUR, Marcel A BEHR. 2020. Reconsidering Mycobacterium bovis as a proxy for zoonotic tuberculosis: a molecular epidemiological surveillance study. Lancet Microbe 1: e66-e73.

Jean-François GUEGAN. 2019. The nature of ecology of infectious disease. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 19.

Brandon H HAYES, Timothée VERGNE, Mathieu ANDRAUD, Nicolas ROSE. 2023. Mathematical modeling at the livestock-wildlife interface: scoping review of drivers of disease transmission between species. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 10: 1225446.

David KING, Tim ROPER, Douglas YOUNG, Mark EJ WOOLHOUSE, Dan COLLINS, Paul WOOD. 2007. Bovine tuberculosis in cattle and badgers. Report to Secretary of State about tuberculosis in cattle and badgers. London, UK.  

Robert MM SMITH , Francis DROBNIEWSKI, Andrea GIBSON, John DE MONTAGUE, Margaret N LOGAN, David HUNT, Glyn HEWINSON, Roland L SALMON, Brian O’NEILL. 2004. Mycobacterium bovis Infection, United Kingdom. Emerging Infectious Diseases 10: 539-541. 

Assessing the dynamics of *Mycobacterium bovis* infection in three French badger populationsClement CALENGE, Ariane PAYNE, Edouard REVEILLAUD, Celine RICHOMME, Sebastien GIRARD, Stephanie DESVAUX<p>The Sylvatub system is a national surveillance program established in 2011 in France to monitor infections caused by <em>Mycobacterium bovis</em>, the main etiologic agent of bovine tuberculosis, in wild species. This participatory program, inv...Animal diseases, Ecohealth, Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Epidemiology, Geography of infectious diseases, Pathogenic/Symbiotic Bacteria, ZoonosesJean-Francois Guegan2023-06-05 10:50:49 View
21 Sep 2023
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Chikungunya intra-vector dynamics in Aedes albopictus from Lyon (France) upon exposure to a human viremia-like dose range reveals vector barrier permissiveness and supports local epidemic potential

Fill in one gap in our understanding of CHIKV intra-vector dynamics

Recommended by based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

Mosquitoes are first vector of pathogen worldwide and transmit several arbovirus, most of them leading to major outbreaks (1). Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a perfect example of the “explosive type” of arbovirus, as observed in La Réunion Island in 2005-2006 (2-6) and also in the outbreak of 2007 in Italy (7), both vectorized by Ae. albopictus. Being able to better understand CHIKV intra-vector dynamics is still of major interest since not all chikungunya strain are explosive ones (8). 

In this study (9), the authors have evaluated the vector competence of a local strain of Aedes albopictus (collected in Lyon, France) for CHIKV. They evaluated infection, dissemination and transmission dynamics of CHIKV using different dose of virus in individual mosquitoes from day 2 to day 20 post exposure, by titration and quantification of CHIKV RNA load in the saliva. As highlighted by both reviewers, the most innovative idea in this study was the use of three different oral doses trying to span human viraemia detected in two published studies (10-11), doses that were estimated through their model of human CHIKV viremia in the blood.  They have found that CHIKV dissemination from the Ae. albopictus midgut depends on the interaction between time post-exposure and virus dose (already highlighted by other international publications).  Then their results were implemented in the agent-based model nosoi to estimate the epidemic potential of CHIKV in a French population of Ae. albopictus, using realistic vectorial capacity parameters.

To conclude, the authors have discussed the importance of other parameters that could influence vector competence as mosquito microbiota and temperature, parameters that need also to be estimated in local mosquito population to improve the risk assessment through modelling.  

As pointed out by both reviewers, this is a nice study, well written and easy to read. These results allow filling in another gap of our understanding of CHIKV intra-vector dynamics and highlight the epidemic potential of CHIKV upon transmission by Aedes albopictus in mainland France. For all these reasons, I chose to recommend this article for Peer Community In Infections.


1.       Marine Viglietta, Rachel Bellone, Adrien Albert Blisnick, Anna-Bella Failloux. (2021). Vector Specificity of Arbovirus Transmission. Front Microbiol Dec 9;12:773211.

2.       Schuffenecker I, Iteman I, Michault A, Murri S, Frangeul L, Vaney M-C, Lavenir R, Pardigon N, Reynes J-M, Pettinelli F, Biscornet L, Diancourt L, Michel S, Duquerroy S, Guigon G, Frenkiel M-P, Bréhin A-C, Cubito N, Desprès P, Kunst F, Rey FA, Zeller H, Brisse S. (2006). Genome Microevolution of Chikungunya viruses Causing the Indian Ocean Outbreak. 2006. PLoS Medicine, 3, e263.

3.       Bonilauri P, Bellini R, Calzolari M, Angelini R, Venturi L, Fallacara F, Cordioli P, 687 Angelini P, Venturelli C, Merialdi G, Dottori M. (2008). Chikungunya Virus in Aedes albopictus, Italy. Emerging Infectious 689 Diseases, 14, 852–854.

4.       Pagès F, Peyrefitte CN, Mve MT, Jarjaval F, Brisse S, Iteman I, Gravier P, Tolou H, Nkoghe D, Grandadam M. (2009). Aedes albopictus Mosquito: The Main Vector of the 2007 Chikungunya Outbreak in Gabon. PLoS ONE, 4, e4691.

5.       Paupy C, Kassa FK, Caron M, Nkoghé D, Leroy EM (2012) A Chikungunya Outbreak Associated with the Vector Aedes albopictus in Remote Villages of Gabon. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 12, 167–169.

6.       Mombouli J-V, Bitsindou P, Elion DOA, Grolla A, Feldmann H, Niama FR, Parra H-J, Munster VJ. (2013). Chikungunya Virus Infection, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 2011. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19, 1542–1543.

7.       Venturi G, Luca MD, Fortuna C, Remoli ME, Riccardo F, Severini F, Toma L, Manso MD, Benedetti E, Caporali MG, Amendola A, Fiorentini C, Liberato CD, Giammattei R, Romi R, Pezzotti P, Rezza G, Rizzo C. (2017). Detection of a chikungunya outbreak in Central Italy, August to September 2017. Eurosurveillance, 22, 17–00646.

8.       de Lima Cavalcanti, T.Y.V.; Pereira, M.R.; de Paula, S.O.; Franca, R.F.d.O. (2022). A Review on Chikungunya Virus Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Current Vaccine Development. Viruses 2022, 14, 969.

9.       Barbara Viginier, Lucie Cappuccio, Celine Garnier, Edwige Martin, Carine Maisse, Claire Valiente Moro, Guillaume Minard, Albin Fontaine, Sebastian Lequime, Maxime Ratinier, Frederick Arnaud, Vincent Raquin. (2023). Chikungunya intra-vector dynamics in Aedes albopictus from Lyon (France) upon exposure to a human viremia-like dose range reveals vector barrier permissiveness and supports local epidemic potential. medRxiv, ver.3, peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Infections.

10.     Appassakij H, Khuntikij P, Kemapunmanus M, Wutthanarungsan R, Silpapojakul K (2013) Viremic profiles in CHIKV-infected cases. Transfusion, 53, 2567–2574.

11.     Riswari SF, Ma’roef CN, Djauhari H, Kosasih H, Perkasa A, Yudhaputri FA, Artika IM, Williams M, Ven A van der, Myint KS, Alisjahbana B, Ledermann JP, Powers AM, Jaya UA (2015) Study of viremic profile in febrile specimens of chikungunya in Bandung, Indonesia. Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, 74, 61–5.

Chikungunya intra-vector dynamics in *Aedes albopictus* from Lyon (France) upon exposure to a human viremia-like dose range reveals vector barrier permissiveness and supports local epidemic potentialBarbara Viginier, Lucie Cappuccio, Celine Garnier, Edwige Martin, Carine Maisse, Claire Valiente Moro, Guillaume Minard, Albin Fontaine, Sebastian Lequime, Maxime Ratinier, Frederick Arnaud, Vincent Raquin<p>Arbovirus emergence and epidemic potential, as approximated by the vectorial capacity formula, depends on host and vector parameters, including the vector intrinsic ability to replicate then transmit the pathogen known as vector competence. Vec...Epidemiology, Vectors, VirusesSara Moutailler2023-06-17 15:59:17 View
24 Jan 2024
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Physiological and behavioural resistance of malaria vectors in rural West-Africa : a data mining study to address their fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity, drivers, and predictability

Large and complete datasets, and modelling reveal the major determinants of physiological and behavioral insecticide resistance of malaria vectors

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Haoues Alout and 1 anonymous reviewer

            Parasites represent the most diverse and adaptable ecological group of the biosphere (Timm & Clauson, 1988; De Meeûs et al., 1998; Poulin & Morand, 2000; De Meeûs & Renaud, 2002). The human species is known to considerably alter biodiversity, though it hosts, and thus sustains the maintenance of a spectacular diversity of parasites (179 species for eukaryotic species only) (De Meeûs et al., 2009). Among these, the five species of malaria agents (genus Plasmodium) remain a major public health issue around the world. Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent and lethal of these (Liu et al., 2010). With a pick of up to 2 million deaths due to malaria in 2004, deaths decreased to around 1 million in 2010 (Murray et al., 2012), to reach 619,000 in 2021, most of which in sub-Saharan Africa, and 79% of which were among children aged under 5 years (World Health Organization, 2022). 

            As stressed by Taconet et al. (2023), reduction in malaria deaths is attributable to control measures, in particular against its vectors (mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles). Nevertheless, the success of vector control is hampered by several factors (biological, environmental and socio-economic), and in particular by the great propensity of targeted mosquitoes to evolve physiological or behavioral avoidance of anti-vectorial measures.

            In their paper Taconet et al. (2023) aims at understanding what are the main factors that determine the evolution of insecticide resistance in several malaria vectors, in relation to the biological determinisms of behavioral resistance and how fast such evolutions take place. To tackle these objectives, authors collected an impressive amount of data in two rural areas of West Africa. With appropriate modeling, Taconet et al. discovered, among many other results, a predominant role of public health measures, as compared to agricultural practices, in the evolution of physiological resistance. They also found that mosquito foraging activities are mostly explained by host availability and climate, with a poor, if any, association with genetic markers of physiological resistance to insecticides. These findings represent an important contribution to the field and should help at designing more efficient control strategies against malaria.



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Taconet P, Soma DD, Zogo B, Mouline K, Simard F, Koffi AA, Dabire RK, Pennetier C, Moiroux N (2023) Physiological and behavioural resistance of malaria vectors in rural West-Africa : a data mining study to address their fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity, drivers, and predictability. bioRxiv, ver. 4 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections.

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Physiological and behavioural resistance of malaria vectors in rural West-Africa : a data mining study to address their fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity, drivers, and predictabilityPaul Taconet, Dieudonné Diloma Soma, Barnabas Zogo, Karine Mouline, Frédéric Simard, Alphonsine Amanan Koffi, Roch Kounbobr Dabiré, Cédric Pennetier, Nicolas Moiroux<p>Insecticide resistance and behavioural adaptation of malaria mosquitoes affect the efficacy of long-lasting insecticide nets - currently the main tool for malaria vector control. To develop and deploy complementary, efficient and cost-effective...Behaviour of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Pesticide resistance, Population genetics of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, VectorsThierry DE MEEÛS Haoues Alout, Anonymous2023-07-03 11:29:10 View