The abundance and activity of ectoparasites and its hosts are affected by various abiotic factors, such as climate and other organisms (predators, pathogens and competitors) presenting thus multiples forms of association (obligate to facultative, permanent to intermittent and superficial to subcutaneous) developed during long co-evolving processes. Ticks are ectoparasites widespread globally and its eco epidemiology are closely related to the environmental conditions. They are obligatory hematophagous ectoparasites and responsible as vectors or reservoirs at the transmission of pathogenic fungi, protozoa, viruses, rickettsia and others bacteria during their feeding process on the hosts. Ticks constitute the second vector group that transmit the major number of pathogens to humans and play a role primary for animals in the process of diseases transmission. Many studies on bioecology of ticks, considering the information related to their population dynamics, to the host and the environment, comes possible the application and efficiency of tick control measures in the prevention programs of vector-borne diseases. In this review were considered some taxonomic, morphological, epidemiological and clinical fundamental aspects related to the tick-borne infections that affect human and animal populations.
BackgroundBrazilian spotted fever (BSF), caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, has been associated with the transmission by the tick Amblyomma sculptum, and one of its main hosts, the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris).MethodsDuring 2015–2019, we captured capybaras and ticks in seven highly anthropic areas of São Paulo state (three endemic and four nonendemic for BSF) and in two natural areas of the Pantanal biome, all with established populations of capybaras.ResultsThe BSF-endemic areas were characterized by much higher tick burdens on both capybaras and in the environment, when compared to the BSF-nonendemic areas. Only two tick species (A. sculptum and Amblyomma dubitatum) were found in the anthropic areas; however, with a great predominance of A. sculptum (≈90% of all ticks) in the endemic areas, in contrast to a slight predominance of A. dubitatum (≈60%) in the nonendemic areas. Tick species richness was higher in the natural areas, where six species were found, albeit with a predominance of A. sculptum (≈95% of all ticks) and environmental tick burdens much lower than in the anthropic areas. The BSF-endemic areas were characterized by overgrowth populations of A. sculptum that were sustained chiefly by capybaras, and decreased populations of A. dubitatum. In contrast, the BSF-nonendemic areas with landscape similar to the endemic areas differed by having lower tick burdens and a slight predominance of A. dubitatum over A.sculptum, both sustained chiefly by capybaras. While multiple medium- to large-sized mammals have been incriminated as important hosts for A. sculptum in the natural areas, the capybara was the only important host for this tick in the anthropic areas.ConclusionsThe uneven distribution of R. rickettsii infection among A. sculptum populations in highly anthropic areas of São Paulo state could be related to the tick population size and its proportion to sympatric A. dubitatum populations.
Brazilian spotted fever (BSF), caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, is endemic in the municipality of Americana, southeastern Brazil, where the disease is transmitted by the tick Amblyomma cajennense. This study evaluated the tick fauna and rickettsial infection in free-living ticks that were captured monthly using dry ice traps in areas endemic for BSF in Americana, from July 2009 to June 2010. Two tick species were captured: A. cajennense (6,122 larvae; 4,265 nymphs; 2,355 adults) and Amblyomma dubitatum (7,814 larvae; 3,364 nymphs; 1,193 adults). The immature stages of A. cajennense and A. dubitatum had similar distribution through the 12-month period, with larvae of both species collected in highest numbers between April and July, and nymphs between June and October. The highest numbers of A. cajennense adults were collected between October and December, whereas A. dubitatum adults were collected in relatively similar numbers throughout the 12-month period. Rickettsial infection was evaluated by means of PCR in 1,157 A. cajennense and 1,040 A. dubitatum ticks; only 41 (3.9%) A. dubitatum were found to be infected by Rickettsia bellii. The present study showed that the areas of Americana that are endemic for BSF are characterized by high environmental burdens of A. cajennense and A. dubitatum.
Aim:In this work, we aimed to develop maps of modeling geographic distribution correlating to environmental suitability for the two species of scorpions of medical importance at São Paulo State and to develop spatial configuration parameters for epidemiological surveillance of these species of venomous animals.Materials and Methods:In this study, 54 georeferenced points for Tityus serrulatus and 86 points for Tityus bahiensis and eight environmental indicators, were used to generate species distribution models in Maxent (maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions) version 3.3.3k using 70% of data for training (n=38 to T. serrulatus and n=60 to T. bahiensis) and 30% to test the models (n=16 for T. serrulatus and n=26 for T. bahiensis). The logistic threshold used to cut models in converting the continuous probability model into a binary model was the “maximum test sensitivity plus specificity,” provided by Maxent, with results of 0.4143 to T. serrulatus and of 0.3401 to T. bahiensis. The models were evaluated by the area under the curve (AUC), using the omission error and the binomial probability. With the data generated by Maxent, distribution maps were produced using the “ESRI® ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Desktop” software.Results:The models had high predictive success (AUC=0.7698±0.0533, omission error=0.2467 and p<0.001 for T. serrulatus and AUC=0.8205±0.0390, omission error=0.1917 and p<0.001 for T. bahiensis) and the resultant maps showed a high environmental suitability in the north, central, and southeast of the state, confirming the increasing spread of these species. The environmental variables that mostly contributed to the scorpions species distribution model were rain precipitation (28.9%) and tree cover (28.2%) for the T. serrulatus and temperature (45.8%) and thermal amplitude (12.6%) for the T. bahiensis.Conclusion:The distribution model of these species of medical importance scorpions in São Paulo State revealed a higher environmental suitability of these species in the regions north, central, and southeast of the state, warning to emergencies actions for prevention and surveillance from scorpion stings in several counties. There is also a need to best conservation strategies related to neighboring territories, with the implementation of new environmental protected areas and measures of spread control of these species in urban areas of several counties.
Human activities are changing landscape structure and function globally, affecting wildlife space use, and ultimately increasing human-wildlife conflicts and zoonotic disease spread. Capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) are linked to conflicts in human-modified landscapes (e.g. crop damage, vehicle collision), as well as the spread and amplification of Brazilian spotted fever (BSF), the most human-lethal tick-borne disease in the world. Even though it is essential to understand the link between capybaras, ticks and BSF, many knowledge gaps still exist regarding the effects of human disturbance in capybara space use. Here, we analyzed diurnal and nocturnal habitat selection strategies of capybaras across natural and human-modified landscapes using resource selection functions (RSF). Selection for forested habitats was higher across human-modified landscapes, mainly during dayperiods, when compared to natural landscapes. Across natural landscapes, capybaras avoided forests during both day-and night periods. Water was consistently selected across both landscapes, during day-and nighttime. Distance to water was also the most important
Aim:The vulnerability of tropical developing countries to the emerging disease constitutes a critical phenomenon in which the invasion of wild niches by human hosts, contributes to expansion of zoonotic diseases, such as the Brazilian spotted fever (BSF). This study performed a diagnosis of species occurrence of their hosts (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and vectors (Amblyomma sculptum and Amblyomma dubitatum) on the warning area for this reemerging disease in Brazil.Materials and Methods:The study was conducted in a warning area for BSF in the city of Americana, São Paulo state. The occurrence of capybaras was registered by use of binoculars and GPS equipment and 24 acarological researches were performed through 180 CO2 traps. Samples of adult ticks were dissected for salivary glands removal, DNA extraction, and evaluation by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) being tested by initial gltA-PCR, ompA-PCR, and Rickettsia bellii-specific PCR, with the positive samples subjected to sequencing.Results:Eleven clusters of capybaras (total of 71 individuals), were observed along the riparian of Ribeirão Quilombo and 7,114 specimens of A. sculptum and 7,198 specimens of A. dubitatum were collected in this same area. About 568 samples of adult ticks were dissected for salivary glands removal, DNA extraction and evaluation by gltA-PCR, with results of 1.94% (11/568) of positive samples. Results for the initial gltA-PCR indicated none positive sample to Rickettsia species into A. sculptum and 11 positive samples to A. dubitatum. These samples were negative to the ompA-PCR and positive to the Rickettsia bellii-specific PCR protocol and subjected to DNA sequencing, whose result indicated 100% similarity to Rickettsia bellii. The distribution of tick species A. sculptum and A. dubitatum was configured regarding to the biotic potential of the riparian areas, measuring the risks for BSF in peri-urban areas of Americana.Conclusion:These results confirmed a status of epidemiological warning with a strong association of the amplifiers hosts of Rickettsia and tick vectors for the transmission of BSF to humans in this region.
RESUMO Os carrapatos estão envolvidos em processos biológicos de uma grande variedade de organismos patogênicos. O gênero Amblyomma é o de maior importância médica, com a espécie Amblyomma sculptum Berlese, 1888 envolvida no ciclo de transmissão da febre maculosa brasileira (FMB). Neste estudo, objetivou-se a validação molecular para uma diferenciação na característica morfométrica e no tamanho de idiossoma de larvas de duas espécies de carrapatos, Amblyomma dubitatum Neumann, 1899 e A. sculptum. Larvas não alimentadas foram coletadas em duas áreas de transmissão para FMB, por meio da técnica de armadilha atrativa de CO2. Foram identificadas em nível de espécie por morfometria comparativa, análise molecular por PCR e sequenciamento genômico, com validação pela análise de concordância pelo teste Kappa. As larvas de A. dubitatum apresentaram um comprimento significativamente maior que as larvas de A. sculptum. Embora nenhuma outra espécie do gênero Amblyomma tenha sido testada neste estudo, essa técnica poderá ser utilizada nos locais onde levantamentos acarológicos prévios, baseados nos estádios de ninfa e adultos, indicaram a presença de apenas A. sculptum e A. dubitatum, geralmente mantidos por capivaras. Digno de nota, essa condição é muito comum ao longo das áreas endêmicas para FMB na região Sudeste do Brasil.
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