Using the Computer Model ECFXPERT to Study Ticks and East Coast Fever

  • W. Byrom
  • G. Gettinby
Tick Ecology and Modelling


ECFXPERT is a microcomputer software tool which can be used to investigate tick populations and the control of East Coast fever. The package contains four simulation models: a model for predicting the abundance and seasonality of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks; a model for predicting East Coast fever prevalence within a herd of cattle; and two models for the study of disease control using either acaricidal dipping strategies or chemotherapy. In this paper, the philosophy of the ECFXPERT package, and the underlying assumptions and mathematical techniques employed are presented, along with the results of a number of computer experiments designed to validate and illustrate potential use of the model.

Key Words

Cattle disease ticks East Coast fever Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Theileria parva ECFXPERT mathematical model simulation computer experiments climate change seasonal occurrence Africa 


ECFXPERT est un outil logiciel pour microordinateur conçu pour étudier les populations de tiques et le contrôle de la theilériose (East Coast fever). Le logiciel comprend quatre modèles de simulation: un modèle destiné à prévoir le nombre et la distribution saisonnière des tiques Rhipicephalus appendiculatus; un modèle destiné à prévoir la prevalence de le theilériose dans un troupeau de bovins; et deux modèles permettant de tester les stratégies de contrôle de la theilériose, soit par des bains acaricides, soit par chimiothérapie.

L’article présente le concept du logiciel ECFXPERT et les hypothèses et techniques mathématiques utilisées, ainsi que les résultats des simulations effectuées, dans le but de valider le logiciel et illustrer son utilisation potentielle.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Branagan D. (1973a) The developmental periods of the ixodid tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Neumann, 1901, under laboratory conditions. Bull. Entomol. Res. 63, 155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Branagan D. (1973b) Observations on the development and survival of the ixodid tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Neumann, 1901, under quasi-natural conditions in Kenya. Trop. Anim. Hlth Prod. 5, 153–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Branagan D. (1978) Climate and East Coast fever. In Weather and Parasitic Animal Disease, Technical Note No. 159 (Edited by Gibson T. E.), pp. 126–140. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva.Google Scholar
  4. Dolan T. T., Young A. S., Losos G. J., McMillian I., Minder Ch.E. and Soulsby K. (1984) Dose dependent responses of cattle to Theileria parva stabilate. Int. J. Parasitol. 14, 89–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fivaz B. H. (1984) Studies on the immunity of the ox and rabbit to Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (Neumann). Ph.D. thesis, University of Zimbabwe.Google Scholar
  6. Gettinby G. (1987) A computer model with Expert rules for the control of African cattle diseases. In Interactions in Artificial Intelligence and Statistical Methods (Edited by Phelps B.), pp. 73–84. Technical Press, Aldershot.Google Scholar
  7. Gettinby G. and Byrom W. (1989) The dynamics of East Coast fever: a modelling perspective for the integration of knowledge. Parasitol. Today 5, 68–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. King D., Gettinby G. and Newson R. M. (1988) A climate-based model for the development of the ixodid tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, in East Coast fever zones. Vet. Parasitol. 29, 41–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. MacLeod J. and Colbo M. H. (1976) Ecological studies of ticks (Acari, Ixodidae) in Zambia. I. Cattle as hosts of the larvae of Amblyomma variegatum and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Neumann. Bull. Entomol. Res. 66, 65–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. McCulloch B., Kalaye W. J., Tungaraza R., Suda B.’Q. J. and Mbasha E. M. S. (1968) A study of the life history of the tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus — the main vector of East Coast fever — with reference to its behaviour under field conditions and with regard to its control in Sukumaland, Tanzania. Bull. Epizoot. Dis. Afr. 16, 477–500.Google Scholar
  11. Mehlhorn H. and Schein E. (1984) The piroplasms: Life cycle and sexual stages. Adv. Parasitol. 23, 37–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pegram R. G. and Banda D. S. (1992) Ecology and phenology of ticks in Zambia: Development and survival of the free-living stages. Exp. Appl. Acarol. (In press).Google Scholar
  13. Punyua D. K. (1984) Development periods of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann (Acarina: Ixodidae) under field conditions. Insect Sci. Applic. 5, 247–250.Google Scholar
  14. Purnell R. E., Ledger M. A., Omwoyo P. L., Payne R. C. and Pierce M. A. (1974) Theileria parva: variation in the infection rate of the vector tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus. Int. J. Parasitol. 4, 513–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Short N. and Norval R. A. I. (1981a) The seasonal activity of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann 1901 (Acarina: Ixodidae) in the high veld of Zimbabwe, Rhodesia. J. Parasitol. 67, 77–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Short N. and Norval R. A. I. (1981b) Regulation of seasonal occurrences in the tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann 1901. Trop. Anim. Hlth. Prod. 13, 19–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Short N. (1986) Effects of climate on the development, behaviour and survival of the free-living stages of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Boophilus decoloratus and Boophilus microplus. M.Phil thesis, University of Zimbabwe.Google Scholar
  18. Stagg D. A., Fawcett D. W., Young A. S. and Leitich B. L. (1984) Superinfection of established Theileria-infected bovid cell lines with Theileria parva sporozoites. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol. 78, 335–337 Part 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tukahirwa E. M. (1976) The effects of temperature and relative humidity on the development of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann (Acarina: Ixodidae). Bull. Entomol. Res. 66, 301–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yeoman G. H. (1966) Field vector studies of epizootic East Coast fever: A quantitative relationship between R. appendiculatus and the epizooticity of East Coast fever. Bull. Epizoot. Dis. Afr. 14, 113–140.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ICIPE 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Byrom
    • 1
  • G. Gettinby
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Statistics and Modelling ScienceUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations