DOI: 10.3390/life13091856 ISSN:

Current Status of Vector-Borne Diseases in Croatia: Challenges and Future Prospects

Tatjana Vilibic-Cavlek, Natasa Janev-Holcer, Maja Bogdanic, Thomas Ferenc, Mateja Vujica Ferenc, Stjepan Krcmar, Vladimir Savic, Vladimir Stevanovic, Maja Ilic, Ljubo Barbic
  • Paleontology
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Different vector-borne pathogens are present or have (re-)emerged in Croatia. Flaviviruses tick-borne encephalitis (TBEV), West Nile (WNV), and Usutu (USUV) are widely distributed in continental regions, while Toscana virus (TOSV) and sandfly fever viruses are detected at the Croatian littoral. Recently, sporadic clinical cases of Tahyna orthobunyavirus (TAHV) and Bhanja bandavirus infection and seropositive individuals have been reported in continental Croatia. Acute infections and serologic evidence of WNV, TBEV, USUV, and TAHV were also confirmed in sentinel animals and vectors. Autochthonous dengue was reported in 2010 at the Croatian littoral. Lyme borreliosis is the most widely distributed vector-borne bacterial infection. The incidence is very high in northwestern and eastern regions, which correlates with numerous records of Ixodes ricinus ticks. Acute human Anaplasma phagocytophilum infections are reported sporadically, but there are many records of serologic evidence of anaplasmosis in animals. Mediterranean spotted fever (Rickettsia conorii) and murine typhus (Rickettsia typhi) are the main rickettsial infections in Croatia. Human leishmaniasis is notified sporadically, while serologic evidence of leishmaniasis was found in 11.4% of the Croatian population. After the official eradication of malaria in 1964, only imported cases were reported in Croatia. Since vector-borne diseases show a growing trend, continuous monitoring of vectors is required to protect the population from these infections.

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