Ticks, Human Babesiosis and Climate Change

Pathogens. 2021 Nov 4;10(11):1430. doi: 10.3390/pathogens10111430.


The effects of current and future global warming on the distribution and activity of the primary ixodid vectors of human babesiosis (caused by Babesia divergens, B. venatorum and B. microti) are discussed. There is clear evidence that the distributions of both Ixodes ricinus, the vector in Europe, and I. scapularis in North America have been impacted by the changing climate, with increasing temperatures resulting in the northwards expansion of tick populations and the occurrence of I. ricinus at higher altitudes. Ixodes persulcatus, which replaces I. ricinus in Eurasia and temperate Asia, is presumed to be the babesiosis vector in China and Japan, but this tick species has not yet been confirmed as the vector of either human or animal babesiosis. There is no definite evidence, as yet, of global warming having an effect on the occurrence of human babesiosis, but models suggest that it is only a matter of time before cases occur further north than they do at present.

Keywords: Babesia divergens; Babesia microti; Ixodes ricinus; Ixodes scapularis; climate; global warming.

Publication types

  • Review