Krzysiak et al.
The European bison (Bison bonasus) as an indicatory species for the circulation of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in natural foci in Poland.
Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2021;12(6):101799. doi:10.116/j.ttbdis.2021.101799.

The European bison (wisent) is the largest wild ungulate in Europe and is commonly infested by various tick species, which can act as vectors for TBE virus. In north-eastern Poland, these ticks are mostly Dermacentor reticulatus. The Polish bison population is estimated at about 2260 animals (worldwide about 8500 individuals) with the highest density in north-eastern Poland, which is a TBE endemic area. A serosurvey study of European bison’s exposure to TBE virus has been carried out to investigate the distribution, risk factors, and whether bison may act as a potential sentinel species for TBE virus circulation.

Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 335 serum samples from bison were collected from 13 of the 26 populations across Poland. In total, 210 sera tested positive for TBE (62.7%) by ELISA. Out of 156 ELISA positive samples retested by neutralization assay, 154 gave positive results.

TBE seroprevalence was significantly correlated with the origin, age, sex, population type, and sanitary status of the bison. Clinical manifestations due to TBE virus infections have not been observed in bison.

In another study, it was shown that 18.4% of the D. reticulatus ticks collected from bison were found to harbor TBE virus RNA.

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