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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Title Landscape predictors of tick-borne encephalitis in Latvia: land cover, land use, and land ownership
Volume 10
Issue 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 497-506
URL http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/vbz.2009.0116
Although the presence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus circulating in tick populations depends on largescale patterns of climate, and the local density of infected ticks depends on the abundance of mammalian hosts, the risk of human infection depends on the access and use by human populations of tick-infested habitats, particularly forests, at the landscape level. We investigated the incidence of reported TBE cases in rural parishes (i.e., municipalities) in Latvia. The following major characteristics of parishes were considered: whether their environment is suitable for tick and tick-host populations (depending on land cover); whether the local human population is likely to enter the forest on a regular base (depending on land use); and whether the spatial distributions of these two aspects are likely to intersect, through access rules (as a function of land ownership). The results indicated that all three aspects are important in explaining and predicting the spatial distribution of TBE cases in the rural areas of Latvia. The concept of landscape is here given new depth by consideration of its physical structure, its use by human populations, and its accessibility as modulated by ownership.

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