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Arthropods and associated arthropod-borne diseases transmitted by migrating birds. The case of ticks and tick-borne pathogens

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Olivier Sparagano, Dr Dave George, Dr Eva Spitalska


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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Geographic spread of parasites and pathogens poses a constant risk to animal health and welfare, particularly given that climate change is expected to potentially expand appropriate ranges for many key species. The spread of deleterious organisms via trade routes and human travelling is relatively closely controlled, though represents only one possible means of parasite/pathogen distribution. The transmission via natural parasite/pathogen movement between geographic locales, is far harder to manage. Though the extent of such movement may be limited by the relative inability of many parasites and pathogens to actively migrate, passive movement over long distances may still occur via migratory hosts. This paper reviews the potential role of migrating birds in the transfer of ectoparasites and pathogens between geographic locales, focusing primarily on ticks. Bird-tick-pathogen relationships are considered, and evidence provided of long-range parasite/pathogen transfer from one location to another during bird migration events. As shown in this paper not only many different arthropod species are carried by migrating birds but consequently these pests carry many different pathogens species which can be transmitted to the migrating birds or to other animal species when those arthropods are dropping during these migrations. Data available from the literature are provided highlighting the need to understand better dissemination paths and disease epidemiology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sparagano O, George D, Giangaspero A, Spitalska E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Veterinary Parasitology

Year: 2015

Volume: 213

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 61-66

Print publication date: 30/09/2015

Online publication date: 30/08/2015

Acceptance date: 28/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0304-4017

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2550

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.08.028

PubMed id: 26343302


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