Hard Ticks (Ixodidae) and Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus in South West of Iran
Ticks are vectors of some important arthropod-borne diseases in both fields of veterinary and medicine, such as Lyme, tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and some types of encephalitis as well as Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). Iran is known as one of the main foci of CCHF in west of Asia. This study was conducted in DarrehShahr County because of the development of animal husbandry in this area to detect the fauna and viral infection of the hard ticks of livestock. A cross-sectional survey was conducted during 2011-2012 with random sampling in four villages. A sample of ticks was subjected to RT-PCR method for detection of viral infection. During the study period, 592 Ixodidae ticks were collected and identified as seven species of Hyalomma asiaticum, Hy. marginatum, Hy. anatolicum, Hy. dromedarii, Hy. detritum, Rhipicephalus bursa and Rh. sanguineus. More than 20% of these ticks were examined to detect the genome of CCHF virus while 6.6% were positive. All species of Hyalomma were found to be positive. A high rate of livestock was found to be infected with hard ticks, which can act as the vectors of the CCHF disease. Regarding infection of all five Hyalomma species captured in this area, this genus should be considered as the main vector of CCHF. Planning control program can be performed based on the obtained data on seasonal activity of Ixodidae to prevent animal infestation as well as to reduce the risk of CCHF transmission.
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