Establishing Tick Surveillance and Tick-Borne Disease Monitoring in Montenegro through a One Health Approach

Animal virology
Medical Entomology
Public Health
Bojan Adzic


MediLabSecure has launched a leadership initiative among its network. Dr. Bojan Adzic, a senior researcher for molecular diagnostics at the Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory in Podgorica, Montenegro is one of the awardees of this initiative. He explains how this award will support establishing tick surveillance and monitoring tick-borne diseases in Montenegro. This collaborative effort seeks to address the lack of current data on ticks and tick-borne diseases in the country. Through a One Health approach, Bojan's initiative aims to train researchers, develop diagnostic protocols, and raise awareness among stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of improving public health outcomes.

Can you tell us about the initiative you presented?

Bojan Adzic: "The current situation in Montenegro lacks comprehensive data on ticks and tick-borne diseases. While some information exists in the human and veterinary medical sectors, the last research conducted on ticks in Montenegro was conducted several decades ago. In light of this, the Ministry of Health of Montenegro has established a working group to study ticks and tick-borne diseases in 2025. However, I felt the need to initiate preparations earlier to ensure a well-prepared and effective plan."

"To achieve this objective, we have divided the initiative into three main parts. The first part focuses on entomological research. We aim to train individuals to identify and capture ticks in the field. We have highly motivated young researchers in our diagnostic laboratory and at the Institute of Public Health who are eager to expand their research areas. This training course will be open to researchers, university students, and others interested in contributing to tick surveillance efforts. To ensure efficient training, we will invite researchers from countries like France, Italy, and Turkey, who have expertise in working with ticks, to provide guidance and training in our specific environment."

"The second focus is on developing standardized operative procedures (SOPs) for the diagnostic of tick-borne diseases. These SOPs will be tailored to the tick species present in Montenegro and will enable accurate and reliable diagnostic testing using serological or molecular methods."

"The third pillar of our initiative is to create a comprehensive awareness campaign. We have experience in conducting such campaigns, particularly related to zoonotic and non-zoonotic diseases. Our objectives are to emphasize the importance of establishing surveillance and having trained researchers to monitor ticks and tick-borne diseases in Montenegro. Our approach involves targeting specific groups, such as medical entomologists, veterinarians, epidemiologists, and other experts as well as students. We will adopt a One Health approach and engage members of the MediLabSecure network, as well as external experts from the public health, veterinary, and human sectors, to lead the awareness campaign."

Why do you think monitoring ticks is so important in Montenegro?

Bojan Adzic: "Ticks are significant transmitters of viral and other diseases, both in humans and animals. Montenegro, being geographically located in Southern Europe, is susceptible to the impact of climate change, which may introduce new diseases to our region. It's worth noting that Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is endemic in our neighboring country, Kosovo, and affects both humans and animals. Recently, Bosnia and Herzegovina reported the presence of positive ticks near the borders of Montenegro. We have seropositive animals and this suggests that we may also have seropositive humans within our country. Understanding the current situation regarding CCHF and other tick-borne diseases, such as tickborne encephalitis, etc. is crucial for enhancing diagnostics and surveillance efforts."

"Moreover, as a small country, Montenegro has fostered collaboration between veterinary services and the public health sector, thanks to the MediLabSecure project. This dynamic partnership allows us to work together effectively in addressing the challenges posed by ticks and tick-borne diseases."

What is the follow-up plan after the workshop?

Bojan Adzic: "Following the workshop, we have several important goals. Firstly, we aim to collaborate with the government to include tick surveillance in our annual plans for animal diseases. This would involve integrating surveillance activities into our existing programs of obligated measures for animal disease diagnostics."

"Additionally, we plan to conduct further awareness campaigns in the future. By leveraging the knowledge and experiences gained through this initiative, we aim to raise awareness among various stakeholders about the importance of tick surveillance and prevention measures. Continued collaboration with the MediLabSecure network and other experts will help us achieve these goals effectively."


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