In recent years, the ticks have reached the valley of Poschiavo and so far no study has been done to determine their diffusion. Recently, this presence has become a much discussed topic as these ticks can be carriers of pathogenes and represent a danger to humans. The goal of this work is to analyze the current situation in the valley of Poschiavo to understand in which areas the ticks are widespread, if they are carriers of pathogens and which factors could have an influence on their expansion.
Several methods have been used for data collection. Ticks were found on ungulates killed during the high hunt in autumn 2016. In spring 2017, ticks were collected in various areas of the valley using the flag method that involves dragging a cotton cloth onto the ground. Some of the collected ticks were sent to a laboratory to identify the presence of the Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for Lyme borreliosis. To understand the evolution of the presence of ticks in the valley, the doctors and veterinarians were interviewed. Finally, to identify any climate changes related to the diffusion of ticks, the evolution of the tem-perature and relative humidity measured by two meteorological stations in the valley of Poschiavo since 1980 have been analyzed.
Thanks to this study it was possible to highlight for the first time the presence in the valley of Poschiavo of ticks wich are bearer of the Borrelia burgdorferi. In fact, the bacterium was present in 26% of the analyzed ticks. Currently, the thicks populate the southern part of the valley, from the lake of Poschiavo to Campocologno, a small area in the central part of the valley and the area around Poschiavo and San Carlo. The interviews carried out showed that in recent years the ticks in the valley have increased and that the climate change could be a possible cause. In fact, since 1980 the temperature measured on the bottom of the valley has increased on average by 1.5 ° C and also the relative humidity has risen slightly. These changes could affect the diffusion of ticks in the valley of Poschiavo.
In the future the temperatures will rise further and consequently the climate of the Poschiavo valley will most likely be more suited to the life of the ticks favoring their in-crease.