Osong Public Health Res Perspect.  2020 Aug;11(4):177-184. 10.24171/j.phrp.2020.11.4.06.

Epidemiological Characteristics of Field Tick-Borne Pathogens in Gwang-ju Metropolitan Area, South Korea, from 2014 to 2018

  • 0Division of Infectious Disease Investigation, Health and Environment Research Institute of Gwangju, Gwangju, Korea
  • 0Division of Bacterial Disease Research, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Korea National Institute of Health, Cheongju, Korea
  • 0Yeosu National Quarantine Station, Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Yeosu, Korea



The importance of tick-borne diseases is increasing because of climate change, with a lack of long-term studies on tick-borne pathogens in South Korea. To understand the epidemiological characteristics of tick-borne diseases, the monthly distribution of field ticks throughout the year was studied in South Korea between May 2014 and April 2018 in a cross sectional study.


The presence of various tick-borne pathogens (Rickettsia species, Borrelia species, Anaplasma phagocytophilum) was confirmed by using polymerase chain reaction, to provide information for a prevention strategy against tick-borne pathogenic infections, through increased understanding of the relationship between seasonal variation and risk of infection with Rickettsia species. This was performed using logistic regression analysis (SPSS 20, IBM, USA) of the data obtained from the study.


During the study period there were 11,717 ticks collected and 4 species identified. Haemapysalis longicornis was the most common species (n = 10,904, 93.1%), followed by Haemapysalis flava (n = 656, 5.6%), Ixodes nipponensis (n = 151, 1.3%), and Amblyomma testudinarium (n = 6, 0.05%) The results of this cross-sectional study showed that Haemapysalis flava carried a higher risk of transmission of Rickettsia species than other tick species (p < 0.05).


In conclusion, due attention should be paid to preventing tick-borne infections in humans whilst engaged in outdoor activities in Spring and Autumn, particularly in places where there is a high prevalence of ticks.


borrelia; phylogeny; rickettsia; tick
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