Spatio-temporal epidemiological survey reveals high infestation and extensive species diversity of hard ticks infesting camels from Pakistan

Author: Ayed Alshammari, Sampson Agyapong Atuahene, Qian Xu Sheng, Muhammad Jamil, Sami Ullah, Shakir Ullah, Muhammad Kashif, Muhammad Qasim, Obaid Ullah, Mourad Ben Said
Year: 2023
Issue: 2
Volume: 53
Page: 174 - 184

Camel production is severely hampered in Pakistan by a wide range of diseases, including ticks and tick-borne pathogens. Camels serve as hosts for various tick-borne pathogens that can lead to human illnesses. Thereby, it was necessary to identify tick species and their infestation prevalence on camels before recommendation of any tick control measures. A total of 1800 engorged and semi-engorged ticks were collected from 1000 camels. In total, tick infestation intensity and abundance were 3.191 and 1.8 ticks per animal, respectively. The ticks belong to six genera (Hyalomma, Rhipicephalus, Dermacentor, Haemaphysalis, Amblyomma, and Ixodes) and 13 species (Hyalomma dromedarii, Hy. anatolicum, Hy. excavatum, Haemaphysalis bispinosa, Hae. punctata, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, R. annulatus, R. microplus, Dermacentor raskimensis, D. marginatus, D. circumguttatus, Amblyomma variegatum, Ixodes ricinus). Female camels recorded more infested hosts than males in the study area. The perineum was found to be a predilection site for ticks, while legs were not. According to camel breeds, Bagri/booja camels carried a high tick load, followed by marecha/mahra, brela/thalocha, gaddi, dhatti/thari, ghulmani, khader and maya types, while the lowest load was observed on the campbelpuri breed. A statistically significant difference was recorded in body conditions; ages were similar. Poor body condition implied a higher tick burden. Summer was considered the most favourable month for tick infestation, while winter was the least. These findings pave the way for more investigations on camels located in the studied regions as well as other parts of the country.

Keywords: Camels, distribution, Pakistan, seasonal dynamics, species diversity, Ticks
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