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Parasite. 2014;21:2. doi: 10.1051/parasite/2014002. Epub 2014 Feb 10.

A review of Hyalomma scupense (Acari, Ixodidae) in the Maghreb region: from biology to control.

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Laboratoire de Parasitologie, École Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de la Manouba, 2020 Sidi Thabet, Tunisia.


Hyalomma scupense (syn. Hyalomma detritum) is a two-host domestic endophilic tick of cattle and secondarily other ungulates in the Maghreb region (Africa). This species transmits several pathogens, among which two are major livestock diseases: Theileria annulata and Theileria equi. Various other pathogens are also transmitted by this tick species, such as Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia bovis. Hyalomma scupense is common in sub-humid and semi-arid areas of several regions in the world, mainly in the Maghreb region. In this region, adults attach to animals during the summer season; larvae and nymphs attach to their hosts during autumn, but there is a regional difference in H. scupense phenology. There is an overlap between immature and adult ticks, leading in some contexts to a dramatic modification of the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases. This tick species attaches preferentially to the posterior udder quarters and thighs. Tick burdens can reach 130 ticks per animal, with a mean of 60 ticks. Calves are 70 times less infested than adult cattle. The control can be implemented through six options: (i) rehabilitation of the farm buildings by roughcasting and smoothing the outer and inner surfaces of the enclosures and walls. This control option should be recommended to be combined with a thorough cleaning of the farm and its surrounding area. With regard to Theileria annulata infection, this control option is the most beneficial. (ii) Acaricide application to animals during the summer season, targeting adults. (iii) Acaricide application during the autumn period for the control of the immature stages. (iv) Acaricide application to the walls: many field veterinarians have suggested this option but it is only partially efficient since nymphs enter deep into the cracks and crevices. It should be used if there is a very high tick burden or if there is a high risk of tick-borne diseases. (v) Manual tick removal: this method is not efficient since the ticks can feed on several other animal species in the farm. This control option can lead to a reduction of the tick population, but not a decrease in tick-borne disease incidence. (vi) Vaccination: this control option consists of injecting the protein Hd86; trials have shown a partial effect on nymphs, with no effect on adult ticks. Combination of two of these control options is recommended in regions where there are high burdens of important tick vectors. Further studies are needed to improve our knowledge on this tick species in the Maghreb region, since the number of published studies on Hyalomma scupense in this region is very limited.

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