Have you heard of Tick-borne Diseases?
Many individuals are not aware of the tick-borne diseases in the country due to a lack of information or misinformation. Tick-borne diseases cause infections that are dangerous to the health of humans and animals. We have several of them with occurrences in a different part of the world. Tick-borne diseases are diseases caused by pathogens and transmitted by ticks of different species in different countries of the world.
The tick-borne disease affects humans and animals health, welfare and productivity. In Nigeria, we rarely see cases of such in humans compared to mosquito-borne diseases but, are much observed in animals especially in the northern part of the country. Tick-borne diseases are caused by virulent agents transmitted by ticks of different species. Boophilus spp, Rhipicephalus app, Dermacentor spp, Hyalomma spp, Argas persicus, Amblyomma spp, Haemaphysalis spp. Etc. They are carriers of different pathogens and their bite leads to the diseases through the transfer of pathogens into the blood stream.
Several Tick-borne diseases are known to be endemic in Nigerian cattle, sheep, goat, and dog which include East Coast Fever (by Theileria parva), Anaplasmosis (by Anaplasma marginale), Babesiosis (by Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis), Cowdriosis (by Ehrlichia ruminantium) and Theileriosis (by Theileria mutans and Theileria velifera)
East Coast Fever.
This disease is a disease complex of cattle in East and Central Africa. Particularly, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. It’s a theileriosis caused by Theileria parva but transmitted by a tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus. There may be hyperthermia and lymphadenopathy, diarrhoea, pneumonia, paresis and mucosal petechiations of the lower gum may be seen.
Anaplasma infection affects cattle, sheep, goats, wild ruminants and humans transmitted by a tick, Boophilus. It causes severe hemolytic anaemia, jaundice, headaches, muscle aches, dyspnea,depression, etc.
This is a major problem in places with favourable condition like tropical and subtropical areas that support large tick population. Babesiosis is caused by Babesia spp and transmitted by boophilus tick. It causes pyrexia, anaemia, jaundice, hemoglobinuria. Etc. It affects animals such as dig, cattle, sheep, etc.
Also known as Ehrlichiosis, Heartwater. This is caused by Cowdria ruminantium transmitted by Amblyomma variegatum in Nigeria, Ehrlichia chaffeensis in the south-eastern and south-central United States transmitted by Amblyomma cajennense. It causes diarrhoea, dyspnea, fever etc.
Other theileria spp such as Theileria mutans, Theileria hirci, Theileria annulata all causes theileriosis and are transmitted by Amblyomma spp, and Hyalomma spp depending on the region of the world and the host. It often causes leucopenia.
Requires you adhere strictly to preventive measures for yourself and your pets.
- Always wear long pants when in the bush and tuck them into white socks so you can identify ticks when they stick to you. Try to always check your pet for any trace of ticks and hand pick them off their skin.
Use bug repellents on yourself and ensure your dog takes the regular vaccination as prescribed by your Veterinarian. There is vaccination against canine Lyme disease. Your pet has low risks of Tick-borne diseases if there is a regular tick prevention treatment done by your Veterinarian and you follow every tick prevention recommendation. (Note: All these are applicable to cats and every other pet.)
Stay away from tall bushes or grass and stick to the middle of a trail. Make sure your dog is not roaming around the bush.E
Ensure you dispose ticks removed properly. Don’t dispose ticks close your pets house or your environment. It’s advisable you burn them as they can easily multiply very fast. Tick infestation is very dangerous to the health of your pet and yours as well.A
Always see a Veterinarian for treatment of your pet or a Doctor for your own treatment. Don’t take self-medication. Your health is very important.
This is a call to all Health/Medical personnel to join forces together in fighting tick-borne diseases in our country and together make the world a better place. One Health, One Free World.