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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Immunological Control of Arthropod Ectoparasites

Author
item Pruett Jr, John

Submitted to: International Journal for Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 28, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Control of arthropod ectoparasites, to include ticks, lice, mites, and insects, is an integral part of livestock management. The low cost of systemically applied chemicals, their efficacy, and ease of use are factors that fostered dependence upon them for ectoparasite control. Regardless of the demonstrated success of pesticides in controlling ectoparasites societal and scientific concerns regarding exclusive dependency upon chemicals have emphasized the need for the development and introduction of alternatives to pesticides that are consistent with the principles of sustainable agriculture. The purpose of this paper was to present a perspective of the past and present advances in the development of anti- ectoparasite vaccines and define the conditions of host resistance and vaccine augmented host resistance that may find utility in future programs of safe and effective arthropod ectoparasite control. The paper was delivered as an invited paper at the 2nd International Conference on Novel Approaches to the Control of Helminth Parasites of Livestock, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, March, 1998.

Technical Abstract: The control of arthropod ectoparasites of livestock by systemically delivered chemicals was introduced in the 1950's. Their low cost, ease of use, and high level of efficacy ensured dependence upon them for ectoparasite control. However, current societal and scientific concerns regarding dependency upon chemicals have emphasized the need for the evaluation of environmentally-safe alternatives for ectoparasite control. Immunological intervention for the control of ectoparasite populations, either through the selection of animals with resistant genotypes or vaccination, is consistent with principles of sustainable agriculture. Unlike the activity of chemicals, currently available ectoparasite vaccines do not induce a rapid knockdown of the parasite population and they do not protect the individual from parasitism. However, if these vaccines are used in an integrated pest management program, they have the potential to reduce parasite populations over successive generations and reduce or eliminate the need for chemical application.

Last Modified: 10/19/2014
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