Short summary of content / significance
The number of ticks and the number of people diagnosed with tick-borne diseases are on the rise. However, we know relatively little about the ecology of the tick species that transmits most diseases in the Netherlands (the sheep tick - Ixodes ricinus) and the different tick-borne pathogens that the sheep tick transmits. In his PhD thesis, Tim Hofmeester describes his research on the influence of different vertebrate host species on the dynamics of sheep tick populations and seven different bacterial pathogens that are transmitted by the sheep tick. He found that small mammals, thrushes and deer are the most important hosts for the sheep tick. Small rodents and thrushes are also the most important species transmitting tick-borne pathogens to the sheep tick. The behaviour and density of these species are the main determinants of tick-borne disease risk as measured by the number of infected ticks in an area.