Sciensano & Tick-borne diseases

Last updated on 8-3-2023 by Charlien Hupko

Epidemiological surveillance in humans

Sciensano’s service Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases is responsible for the epidemiological surveillance of various human diseases transmitted by ticks. For this, we collect data via different surveillance systems. The data allow to:

  • describe the occurrence of diseases in Belgium
  • follow-up trends over time
  • and identify possible risk factors for infection.

More information on a number of diseases is available under “Health Topics A-Z”.

Surveillance of tick bites in humans

TekenNet is a citizen-science platform set up by Sciensano’s Epidemiology of infectious diseases service in 2015. It allows citizens to report tick bites on humans that occurred in Belgium, via a website or a mobile phone app.

The aim of the project is to monitor the exposure of the Belgian population to tick bites over time and space. This data enables Sciensano to better map the time period and geographical risk zones of higher tick activity in Belgium, making it possible for people who may be exposed to tick bites to take preventive measures.


Sciensano’s Zoonotic bacterial diseases unit focuses its research on improving the understanding of the ticks’ microbial community in certain Belgian ecological niches. A thoroug knowledge on tick-associated microbial communities, and the interaction between them, is important to determine whether certain predictors or potential microbial drivers exist during pathogen transmission.

Sciensano’s Exotic and vector-borne diseases service performs ad hoc seroprevalence studies in domestic and wild animals to gain insight into the evolution of the prevalence and distribution of certain tick-borne diseases (including tick-borne encephalitis) in Belgium. 

In addition, research is also being carried out into the interaction between the tick-borne encephalitis virus (and the closely-related Louping ill virus) and the most common tick species in Belgium (Ixodes ricinus), in addition to the interaction between the tick-borne encephalitis virus and some of its natural hosts (mice and sheep). 

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