Investigation and prevalence of hard ticks infestation in ruminant farm animals in the United Kingdom

Sheeza Iqbal, James Swanson, Lisa K Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Ticks are haematophagic ectoparasites of domestic, wild animals and humans so an important part of the rationale is the risk of zoonotic disease. Globally, tick infestation causes considerable economic losses of approximately US$ 14-19 billion annually, although scientific data is limited. This study aimed to measure tick infestation amongst ruminant animals in the UK, to investigate tick prevalence, identify tick-species and risk factors associated with high tick prevalence. An online questionnaire and tick samples were used to estimate tick prevalence and identify risk factors. Tick infestation was distributed across the UK, with a higher prevalence in England (47%), Wales (28%) and Scotland (21%) compared to the Isle of Man (4%) and Northern Ireland (2%) at the time the study was conducted. Sixty-five percent of farmers that responded to the questions reported that they had previously had a tick-infestation in their herd or flock. The dominant tick species found was Ixodes ricinus (73%), followed by Ixodes hexagonus (18%) and Dermacentor reticulatus (10%). Upland farming (44%), not performing acaricide treatment (57%) and the presence of domestic pets and wildlife (67%) were significant risk factors. Although the prevalence rate is lower compared to other countries, this study provides evidence that tick infestation in livestock is a concern for UK farmers and warrants further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalEgyptian Journal of Veterinary Sciences
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023

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