Ixodid Ticks Feeding on Humans in South Africa: with Notes on Preferred Hosts, Geographic Distribution, Seasonal Occurrence and Transmission of Pathogens
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- Horak, I., Fourie, L., Heyne, H. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (2002) 27: 113. doi:10.1023/A:1021587001198
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This paper records the identities of 558 ixodid ticks feeding on 194 humans in South Africa. These ticks belonged to 20 species in six genera and those most frequently encountered were Amblyomma hebraeum, Haemaphysalis leachi, Hyalommamarginatum rufipes, Hyalomma truncatum, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Rhipicephalus gertrudae and Rhipicephalus simus. With the exception of the larvae of R. appendiculatus, the incidents of these ticks feeding on humans correlated well with their seasonal occurrences on preferred hosts. Ticks were also collected at monthly intervals, for 14 consecutive months, from the clothing of a game-guard providing protection for field-workers engaged in the collection, by means of flannel strips, of free-living ticks from the vegetation of four localities in the southern region of the Kruger National Park. In addition, with the exception of 3 months when the particular worker was absent, ticks that fed on one of the field-workers were collected over the same 14-month period. A total of 54,429 free-living ticks belonging to 14 species and six genera were collected from the vegetation at the four localities during this time and 3751 ticks belonging to 11 species and six genera from the clothing of the game-guard. The larvae of A. hebraeum and Boophilus decoloratus were the most numerous of the immature ticks, and H. leachi and R. simus of the adults on both the vegetation and the guard’s clothing. Ticks fed on the field-worker on six occasions and 14 were collected, all of which were A. hebraeum larvae.