JOURNAL ARTICLE

Survey of the livestock ticks of the North West province, South Africa

Arthur M Spickett, I Heloise Heyne, Roy Williams
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 2011, 78 (1): 305
23327212
Ticks, as vectors of disease and damage agents, impact directly and indirectly on the economy of the livestock industry in southern Africa. This study surveyed the occurrence and distribution of ticks infesting livestock across the North West province, South Africa. During three phases in consecutive years, officers of the provincial Veterinary Department collected specimens monthly from livestock hosts at specified sites across the province. Data analysis constituted the fourth phase of the study. A total of 1090 collections from 265 sites yielded 42 566 tick specimens, comprising 22 different tick species (18 ixodids, 4 argasids). The specimens represent all of the major tick vectors of disease that occur in South Africa. The major tick-borne diseases (i.e. heartwater, both African and Asiatic bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis) were found to be prevalent mainly in the north-eastern region of the province, which also displayed the highest tick species diversity. The central region appears transitory to some of the major vectors. Although some tick species were contained within specific regions, others were widespread across the province. Associated serology data show that most herds sampled in areas endemic for babesiosis and anaplasmosis in the north-eastern region are endemically unstable and at risk to these tick-borne diseases should vector control measures become ineffective.

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