Hyalomma rufipes on an untraveled horse: Is this the first evidence of Hyalomma nymphs successfully moulting in the United Kingdom?

Kayleigh M. Hansford, Daniel Carter, Emma L. Gillingham, Luis M. Hernandez-Triana, John Chamberlain, Benjamin Cull, Liz McGinley, L. Paul Phipps, Jolyon M. Medlock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

During September 2018, a tick was submitted to Public Health England's Tick Surveillance Scheme for identification. The tick was sent from a veterinarian who removed it from a horse in Dorset, England, with no history of overseas travel. The tick was identified as a male Hyalomma rufipes using morphological and molecular methods and then tested for a range of tick-borne pathogens including; Alkhurma virus, Anaplasma, Babesia, Bhanja virus, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever virus, Rickettsia and Theileria. The tick tested positive for Rickettsia aeschlimannii, a spotted fever group rickettsia linked to a number of human cases in Africa and Europe. This is the first time H. rufipes has been reported in the United Kingdom (UK), and the lack of travel by the horse (or any in-contact horses) suggests that this could also be the first evidence of successful moulting of a Hyalomma nymph in the UK. It is postulated that the tick was imported into the UK on a migratory bird as an engorged nymph which was able to complete its moult to the adult stage and find a host. This highlights that passive tick surveillance remains an important method for the detection of unusual species that may present a threat to public health in the UK. Horses are important hosts of Hyalomma sp. adults in their native range, therefore, further surveillance studies should be conducted to check horses for ticks in the months following spring bird migration; when imported nymphs may have had time to drop off their avian host and moult to adults. The potential human and animal health risks of such events occurring more regularly are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-708
Number of pages5
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Martin Peaty BVSc of The Barn Equine Surgery, Three Legged Cross, Wimborne, Dorset who detected and submitted the unusual specimen for identification, and also the owners of the horse for sharing information on the travel history of the horse. JMM is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Environmental Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, University College London, and the Met Office; and partly funded by the NIHR HPRU on Emerging Infections and Zoonoses at the University of Liverpool in partnership with PHE and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The authors would also wish to thank the PHE Genomic Services Development Unit for performing sequencing. The authors would also like to acknowledge the EU Framework Horizon 2020 Innovation Grant (EVAg, No. 653316), and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Scottish Government and Welsh Government through grants SV3045 and SE4113 for funding. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or PHE.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Martin Peaty BVSc of The Barn Equine Surgery, Three Legged Cross, Wimborne, Dorset who detected and submitted the unusual specimen for identification, and also the owners of the horse for sharing information on the travel history of the horse. JMM is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Environmental Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) , and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, University College London, and the Met Office; and partly funded by the NIHR HPRU on Emerging Infections and Zoonoses at the University of Liverpool in partnership with PHE and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine . The authors would also wish to thank the PHE Genomic Services Development Unit for performing sequencing. The authors would also like to acknowledge the EU Framework Horizon 2020 Innovation Grant (EVAg, No. 653316 ), and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Scottish Government and Welsh Government through grants SV3045 and SE4113 for funding. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or PHE.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

Keywords

  • Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever virus
  • Hyalomma
  • Importation
  • Migratory birds
  • Public health
  • Rickettsia aeschlimannii

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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