Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Animal Disease Research » Research » Research Project #444409

Research Project: Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens Affecting Livestock in Zimbabwe

Location: Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 2090-32000-040-041-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2023
End Date: May 31, 2026

Ticks in Zimbabwe transmit harmful pathogens accounting for more than 60% of livestock deaths and burdening the country with the heavy economic costs of disease prevention as well as morbidity and mortality of livestock. In order to prevent and reduce livestock tick-borne diseases in Zimbabwe, the distribution and movement of ticks and their associated pathogens should be addressed, especially across changing climate and developing landscapes. The objectives of this research are to 1) identify associations between tick species and predilection sites on livestock hosts; 2) detect and model patterns in tick movement across Zimbabwe by comparing distributions and genotypes of tick (sub)populations across several years; and 3) collect data on cattle movement and tick control methods used in Zimbabwe districts. By elucidating patterns and associations between ticks, tick-borne pathogens, and the environment, targeted tick management plans may be constructed and updated to align with changing patterns of climate and land cover.

Ticks will be collected from livestock hosts that are brought to dip stations throughout Zimbabwe. Ticks will undergo pathogen screening for various tick-borne pathogens that are commonly found in Zimbabwe and surrounding countries. The predilection sites on animals will also be evaluated to determine where these ticks are likely to attach and feed on livestock. Tick microsatellites/SNPs will also be identified and used to identify potential subpopulations of certain tick species via gene flow and possible movement of ticks throughout Zimbabwe. Finally, livestock owners in Zimbabwe will be surveyed on cattle movement and tick control methods.