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Travel Med Infect Dis. 2011 Mar;9(2):49-59. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Travel and disease vector ticks.

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School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZJ, United Kingdom.


There are approximately twenty species of hard (ixodid) ticks worldwide that frequently affect human populations, many of which are associated with serious, sometimes fatal disease(s). When a tick travel souvenir is presented in the clinic, the risk must be immediately assessed by identifying the tick in question, ascertaining its disease vector status and determining if there has been the opportunity for the transfer of potential pathogens. This short review on identification of disease vector ticks and aspects of blood feeding and disease transmission includes the results of an examination of 59 specimens removed from UK domestic travellers and international travellers between 2002 and 2010. Sixteen tick species belonging to six genera were recorded and almost all showed evidence of blood feeding, which appears to contradict the view that because of their size, adult ticks are found early and therefore present an insignificant risk.

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