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Epidemiological Aspects of Bovine Tick Infestation in the River Ravi Region, Lahore.

Byline: Sadaqat Ali, Muhammad Ijaz, Aneela Zameer Durrani, Azhar Maqbool, Muhammad Mudassir Ali and Khalid Mehmood

ABSTRACT

A total of 1258 bovines (n =726 cattle; n =532 buffaloes), positive for ticks, were included in the study to check determinants of tick infestation. Hyalomma was significantly (Pless than 0.05) the most prevalent tick genus 71.9 and 62.03%, followed by Boophilus 22.04 and 28.57% and mixed infection 6.06 and 9.4% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. Mild tick infestation (1-20 ticks/animal) was found significantly (Pless than 0.05) high, followed by moderate (21-50 ticks/animal) and high tick infestation (>50 ticks/animal) in bovines. In cattle, crossbreds were significantly (Pless than 0.05) the most affected, followed by Sahiwal, Cholistani, Holstein Friesian and non-descript, respectively, while in buffaloes, non-descriptive breed was more affected than Nili Ravi. Females were significantly (Pless than 0.05) the most affected gender than males in bovines.

Calves were significantly (Pless than 0.05) the most affected age group in both, followed by adult, young and old, respectively in cattle, while followed by young, adult and old, respectively in buffaloes. Udder was significantly (Pless than 0.05) the highest tick infested site in both, followed by inner thighs, perineum, legs and tail, and neck, respectively in cattle, while followed by neck, tail, perineum, inner thighs, legs, and back and ears, respectively in buffaloes. Summer was significantly (Pless than 0.05) the most tick favorable season, followed by winter, spring and autumn, respectively in bovines.

Key words

Hyalomma, Boophilus, cattle, buffaloes, tick infestation, Nili Ravi, Bos indicus.

INTRODUCTION

Ecto-parasites such as ticks and mites transmit different pathogens, which lead to a number of threatening diseases (Aslam et al., 2015). Ticks, most important ecto-parasites of livestock in tropical and sub-tropical areas such as Pakistan, are responsible for substantial economic losses (Durrani and Shakoori, 2009). Ticks are blood suckers that damage skins, hides and predispose cattle to dermatophilosis and myiasis (Mtshali et al., 2004), induce paralysis or toxicosis, and cause physical damage to livestock. They are also vectors of a number of pathogenic microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, spirochetes, rickettsiae and protozoans (Jongejan and Uilenberg, 2004).

In Pakistan, the prevalence of tick infestation has been observed to go beyond 50% (Durrani, 2008; Sajid et al., 2008, 2009a,b), but so far, only a few investigations concerning prevalence of tick infestation, taxonomy and acaricidal efficacy have been conducted (Sajid et al., 2009a). Higher prevalence of Hyalomma tick followed by Boophilus, Haemaphysalis, and Rhipicephalus was reported in district Kasur (Durrani and Kamal, 2008), while higher prevalence of Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum followed by Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Rhipicephalus annulatus and Haemaphysalis spp. was reported in districts Sargodha, Khushab, and Rawalpindi (Durrani and Shakoori, 2009). In India, Rhipicephalus was the most prevalent tick genus reported on cattle, followed by Hyalomma and Boophilus (Raut et al., 2008).

Three species of ticks namely Boophilus microplus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Haemaphysalis bispinosa infesting cattle were documented in Bangladesh (Kabir et al., 2011). Hyalomma was major tick species in the livestock of Iran (Shemshad et al., 2012). Boophilus microplus and Amblyomma cajennense were identified predominant tick species on cattle in Guatemala (Teglas et al., 2005). Breed, age, geographical area and month-wise prevalence of tick infestation are significant associated determinants. Predilection sites vary with host and infesting tick specie. Perineum, udder and external genitalia are the most tick infested sites followed by dewlap, inner thighs, neck and back, tail, ears, around eyes, flanks, and legs (Atif et al., 2012).

The knowledge about the extent of the bovine tick infestation is extremely insufficient especially in buffaloes. Therefore, a study was designed to identify the most predominant tick genus and associated determinants in cattle and buffaloes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study location

Epidemiological studies were conducted in cattle and buffalo population in the outskirts of Lahore district. Lahore is located on a flat alluvial plain on the left bank of River Ravi. Lahore District lies between 31-15' and 31-45' north altitude, 74-01' and 74-39' east longitude. It is situated in the north-eastern part of Pakistan, and bounded on the east by India. The general altitude of the area is about 213 m in the north-east to 208 m in the south-west above mean sea level. Lahore experiences extremes of climate. Climate of Lahore features a hot semi-arid climate with rainy, long and extremely hot summers, dry and warm winters, a monsoon and dust storms. The mean maximum and minimum temperature during summer months are 40.4C and 27.4C, while 22C and 5.9C in winter season respectively. The average annual rainfall in Lahore is about 629 mm with 34 rainy days (LDA, 2004; RRCAP, 2011).

Sampling strategy

The study was conducted from January, 2012 to December, 2012 in the semi-arid zone of the district. A total of 1258 tick specimens, found on bovine population (n=726 cattle; n=532 buffaloes), were collected from the field, small-scale livestock integrated farms, public and private hospitals located in the vicinity of 34 villages of the study district. The farmers had not used any acaricide for control of tick infestation on their animals. The animals were selected for sampling based on the presence of ticks on their bodies and showing any clinical signs like intermittent fever, loss of appetite, anemia, weight loss, dyspnea, pale mucous membrane, jaundice, and recumbency.

Collection, processing, and identification of tick specimens

Adult hard tick specimens were collected from different body parts of cattle without damaging their mouth parts using forceps. Each specimen was placed in a separate vial containing 70% ethyl alcohol and the labeled specimens were dispatched to Department of Parasitology, UVAS, Lahore, for taxonomic identification. Morphological characters of ticks were studied and identified, using stereo microscope according to the characteristics mentioned by Walker et al. (2003).

Epidemiological survey

Data regarding species, breed, sex, age and predilection site of the host, and climatic condition of the area, were recorded on a pretested questionnaire. Tick infestations were categorized into the following groups: mild (1-20 ticks per animal), moderate (21-50 ticks per animal) or high infestation (more than 50 ticks per animal) described by Teglas et al. (2005). Categories of cattle or buffaloes (male/female) based on their age ranges were as follows: (1) calves (less than 1 year); (2) young stock (1-3 years); (3) adult stock (3-5 years); (4) old stock (5-10 years). The breeds studied included: (1) Sahiwal (Bos indicus); (2) Cholistani (B. indicus); (3) Non-descript (B. indicus); (4) Cross-bred (B. indicusxB. taurus); (5) Holstein Friesian (B. taurus), while those of buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) included: (1) Nili Ravi; (2) Non-descript. Four consecutive seasons were categorized as: (1) Spring (March to April); (2) Summer (May to August); (3) Autumn (September to October); (4) Winter (November to February).

Statistical analysis

Data regarding the prevalence of tick infestation and associated determinants by Non-parametric, Chi-square (kh2) test were analyzed, using statistical product and service solutions (SPSS) version 16. Probability levels (P) of less than 0.05 were considered significant.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Data regarding determinants affecting the prevalence of tick infestation and breed-wise prevalence in cattle and buffaloes is shown in Tables I, II. Prevalence of Hyalomma, Boophilus and mixed infection were found 71.9, 22.04 and 6.06% in cattle, while 62.03, 28.57 and 9.4% in buffaloes, respectively. Data showed the highest prevalence (Pless than 0.05) of Hyalomma, followed by Boophilus and mixed infestation significantly, both in cattle and buffaloes. Durrani and Shakoori (2009) have also reported highest prevalence of Hyalomma ticks, followed by Boophilus, Haemaphysalis and Rhipicephalus, respectively in cattle of three districts; Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan. Similar tick genera infestations were reported in Friesian cattle of district Kasur (Durrani and Kamal, 2008). Findings are also coincided with results of Sajid et al. (2009b), who reported that Hyalomma was the main tick genus found in cattle and buffaloes of Layyah and Muzaffargarh.

Khan et al. (1993) has also been reported similar results for Faisalabad, Pakistan. Data regarding tick density revealed prevalence of mild, moderate and high tick infestation found 56.61, 32.64 and 10.74% in cattle, while 59.59, 30.64 and 9.77% in buffaloes. Mild tick infestation was significantly (Pless than 0.05) predominant, followed by moderate and high, both in cattle and buffaloes. The results of the present study are completely in line with the findings of Teglas et al. (2005), who also reported mild tick infestation in bovines. Cattle are likely to be more economically important to many subsistence farmers and therefore receive veterinary care more consistently (Teglas et al., 2005).

Data regarding host breed showed that the highest prevalence was found in crossbreds (29.89%), followed in order by Sahiwal (23.83%), Cholistani (17.08%), Holstein Friesian (16.39%) and non-descript (12.81%) in cattle, while in buffaloes, prevalence was found the highest in non-descript (52.44%), as compared to Nili Ravi (47.56%). Breed was found to be a significant (Pless than 0.05) determinant in cattle, while non-significant (P>0.05) in buffaloes affecting the prevalence of tick infestation. Present research on determinants of host breeds showed that tick infestations were higher in crossbreds and exotic as compared to indigenous animals in case of cattle species, whereas non-descriptive buffaloes were more affected. It confirmed findings of L'Hostis et al. (1996); Atif et al. (2012), they found higher tick infestation in crossbreds. Sajid and associates have reported higher prevalence of tick infestation in crossbred cattle of 5-10 years of age (Sajid et al., 2009b).

Wambura et al. (1998) has noticed that B. indicus is relatively resistant to ticks as compared to B. indicus and B. taurus crosses. They associated the higher concentration of serum complements for tick resistance in zebu cattle. Indigenous cattle breeds are more resistant to tick infestation than European breeds (Sajid et al., 2009b). Tick resistance is an inherited trait in B. indicus cattle (Jongejan and Uilenberg, 2004). Data regarding host sex revealed the prevalence in males and females was 83.33 and 16.67% in cattle, while 82.14 and 17.86% in buffaloes, respectively. Data showed higher prevalence was found in females than males in both species. Sex was found a significant (Pless than 0.05) risk factor both in cattle and buffaloes. Unlikely, Sajid et al. (2009b) reported higher prevalence of tick infestation in males than in females of cattle and buffaloes.

This contradiction is due to the trend of using artificial insemination instead of natural service for better production and due to the revolution of modern dairy farming in Pakistan. Data regarding host age showed higher numerical figures of ticks in per unit of surface in calves (28.65%), followed by adults (26.03%), young (23.83%) and old ones (21.49%) in cattle, while in buffaloes, higher number of ticks were found in calves (31.58%), followed by young (26.13%), adults (23.12%), and old ones (19.17%). Age was a less significant (Pless than 0.05) risk factor in cattle as compared to buffaloes. The results of present study on host determinants of age regarding tick infestation concluded that either cattle or buffaloes, calves were more susceptible age group. These results coincide with L'Hostis et al. (1996) who depicted higher tick infestation in calves as compared to their elder members of young stock.

Lack of immunity, softer tissues and thinner skin of young animals would help in the penetration of mouth parts for feeding (Sajid, 2007). Data regarding tick predilection site on host body revealed that udder is the highest (Pless than 0.05) infested site of tick infestation (42.7%), followed by inner thighs (19.28%), perineum (14.6%) legs (9.37%) and tail (9.37%), and neck (4.68%) in cattle. In buffaloes, udder was found the highest infested site of tick infestation (19.74%), followed by neck (18.98%), tail (15.04%), perineum (11.28%), inner thighs (11.09%), legs (08.08%), and back and ears (7.89%), respectively. Predilection site was found to be a significant (Pless than 0.05) risk factor both in cattle and buffaloes.

Results confirmed the findings of Atif et al. (2012), who reported perineum, udder and external genitalia, the most tick infested sites in cattle followed by dewlap, inner thighs, neck and back, tail, ears, around eyes, flanks, and legs. Data regarding season revealed summer season (37.47%) was most favorable for tick infestation followed by winter (26.31%), spring (18.32%), and autumn (17.91%) in cattle, while in buffaloes, summer (37.03%) was most favorable season for tick infestation followed by winter (30.26%), spring (19.74%), and autumn (12.97%). Season is a significant (Pless than 0.05) determinant in cattle and buffaloes affecting prevalence of tick infestation. Considering the higher number of ticks, summer season was the most favorable for tick infestation followed by winter, spring, and autumn both in cattle and buffaloes.

These findings were correlated with Marufu et al. (2011), who reported that higher prevalence of cattle tick infestation in hot-wet season and Durrani (2008), who revealed Hyalomma spp. ticks were most abundant in June, in Pakistan. Rainfall influences microclimate by affecting vegetation growth and soil moisture. High rainfall and relative humidity during summer shape climate favorable for growth of ticks and their parasitic activity in livestock (Mooring et al., 1994). The prevalence of tick infestation varies from region to region. Host, management and environmental factors (agro-ecological and geo-climatic conditions) influence the prevalence of ticks (Kivaria, 2006).

Table I.- Determinants affecting the prevalence of tick infestation in cattle and buffaloes of Lahore district.

Variable###Category###Cattle###Buffaloes

###Frequency###%###P-value###Frequency###%###P-value

Tick genus###Hyalomma###522###71.9###0.000###330###62.03###0.000

###Boophilus###160###22.04###152###28.57

###Mixed infestation###44###6.06###50###9.4

Tick density###Mild###411###56.61###0.000###317###59.59###0.000

###Moderate###237###32.64###163###30.64

###High###78###10.74###52###9.77

Host sex###Male###121###16.67###0.000###95###17.86###0.000

###Female###605###83.33###437###82.14

Host age (group)###Calf###208###28.65###0.012###168###31.58###0.000

###Young###173###23.83###139###26.13

###Adult###189###26.03###123###23.12

###Old###156###21.49###102###19.17

Host predilection site###Back###00###00###0.000###42###7.89###0.000

###Ears###00###00###42###7.89

###Inner thighs###140###19.28###59###11.09

###Legs###68###9.37###43###8.08

###Neck###34###4.68###101###18.98

###Perineum###106###14.6###60###11.28

###Tail###68###9.37###80###15.04

###Udder###310###42.7###105###19.74

Season###Spring###133###18.32###0.000###105###19.74###0.000

###Summer###272###37.47###197###37.03

###Autumn###130###17.91###69###12.97

###Winter###191###26.31###161###30.26

Table II.- Host breed-wise prevalence of tick infestation in cattle and buffaloes of Lahore district.

Species###Frequency (%)###P-value

Cattle

###Sahiwal###173 (23.83)###0.000

###Cholistani###124 (17.08)

###Non-descript###93 (12.81)

###Cross-bred###217 (29.89)

###Friesian###119 (16.39)

Buffalo

###Nili Ravi###253 (47.56)###0.111

###Non-descript###279 (52.44)

It is concluded that Hyalomma and Boophilus were the most prevalent tick genera in cattle and buffaloes in Lahore region, Pakistan, and preventive measures should be done to control infestation, especially during summer.

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Author:Mehmood, Khalid; Ali, Sadaqat; Ijaz, Muhammad; Durrani, Aneela Zameer; Maqbool, Azhar; Ali, Muhammad
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 30, 2016
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