Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research
Title: Developing Novel Technology for the Control of Ticks of Veterinary and Human Importance Authors
Submitted to: Acarology International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 3, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Among approximately 670 tick species in the world, the southern cattle tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus and the black-legged tick Ixodes scapularis received the most attention in the United States due to their roles as the vectors of disease agents affecting cattle and humans, respectively. The southern cattle tick, R. microplus, is a key vector of protozoan disease agents (Babesia spp.) that cause Bovine babesiosis (or Cattle Tick Fever). Ixodes scapularis is a key vector of bacterial disease agents (Borrelia spp.) that cause Lyme disease in eastern North America. R microplus, along with the cattle tick R. annulatus, was eradicated from the United States in the 1940s after near four decades of intensive efforts. An active Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP) is maintained by the USDA-APHIS-VS to protect the US cattle industry from re-introduction of R. microplus and R. annulatus back into the United States from Mexico. The continued success of the CFTEP now faces serious challenges due to (1) the sever acaricide resistance situation in Mexico, and (2) increased numbers of tick outbreaks detected in the quarantine zone along the US-Mexican border in Texas in the past few years. The USDA, ARS, Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory (KBUSLIRL) in Kerrville, Texas has been the leading research institution in providing technological support to the CFTEP. Significant progress has been made by KBUSLIRL scientists during the past decade in understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of acaricide resistance and developing diagnostic tools for rapid detection of acaricide resistance in ticks. Various new acaricides and acaricide formulations haven been evaluated to provide solutions to existing problems. A new project entitled “Mining the genome of Rhipicephalus microplus to develop novel tick control technology and vaccines” has been initiated at the KBUSLIRL. Multidisciplinary approaches will be used to understand the molecular mechanisms of interactions among the host, the vector, and the pathogen to identify physiological and molecular targets for development of novel acaricides, and to develop and evaluate candidate vaccine antigens. Lyme disease has been the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the United States. Approximately 90% of human cases of Lyme disease occurred in the northeastern and upper-midwestern regions of the U.S. A multi-year Northeast Area-wide Tick Control Project was completed recently by the KBUSLIRL scientists and their university collaborators. The acaricide self-treatment device, the 4-poster, invented by a KBUSLIRL scientist was proven highly effective in eliminating ticks from the white tailed deer. Controlling ticks on deer by self-application of acaricide resulted in a decrease in the risk to human’s exposure to Lyme disease agents in the treated areas. The 4-poster device is currently being evaluated for its efficacy in eradicating southern cattle ticks feeding on white-tailed deer in infested premises in South Texas.