, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 59-69

Tick/host interactions forIxodes holocyclus: Role, effects, biosynthesis and nature of its toxic and allergenic oral secretions

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The Australian paralysis tickIxodes holocyclus occurs along the eastern coast of Australia. Its interaction with a wide variety of hosts causes a serious toxicosis (tick paralysis) in domestic pets and livestock (occasionally in wildlife and humans) as well as hypersensitivity reactions in humans. Tick paralysis in animals is usually fatal in the absence of speedy antitoxin treatment and human hypersensitivity may result in life-threatening anaphylaxis. The protection of such hosts against toxic or allergic effects by vaccination or desensitisation respectively has been the objective of most of our recent research.

The role, biosynthesis and nature of the paralysing toxin (holocyclotoxin) and of the allergens is gradually being elucidated. In this review, some emphasis has been placed on recent research on the interactions of humans with this tick and on the partial characterisation of the allergens.