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Spatial Distribution of Dermanyssus gallinae Infestations in Greece and Their Association with Ambient Temperature, Humidity, and Altitude.

Pathogens 2024 April 23
Dermanyssus gallinae , the poultry red mite (PRM), is the most prevalent and harmful ectoparasite of laying hens globally. Although prevalence and risk factor studies can help veterinarians make decisions regarding farm treatments, relevant data are scarce. The present study investigated the prevalence and infestation severity of PRM in poultry farms across Greece and examined potential risk factors. AviVet traps were used to sample 84 farms (51 backyard, 33 industrial) over three years. Farm altitude, temperature, humidity, region, and production systems were assessed as potential risk factors with chi-square tests, initially for all the studied farms and then exclusively for backyard farms. The overall prevalence was 75.0% and was higher in backyard farms (80.4%) compared with industrial ones (66.7%), varying regionally from 66.7 to 90.9%. Altitude and temperature were not significant risk factors, but farms with humidity <60% had a lower infestation risk. Infestation severity did not significantly differ by risk factors. The poultry red mite is highly prevalent across Greek poultry production systems and regions. In the future, global warming, reduced acaricide options, and a ban on cage systems will all threaten a wider spatio-temporal distribution of the PRM, justifying the urgent need for effective monitoring and control methods to protect hen production and welfare and workers' health.

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