Theileria parva, the agent of East Coast fever (ECF), is transmitted to the host during the blood meal feeding of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks. In order to investigate the relationship between the attachment duration of R. appendiculatus and the transmission of T. parva, infected adult ticks were allowed to attach to naive mice for variable lengths of time. Attached ticks and host animal's back skin biopsies from the tick attachment site were collected daily, starting from 24 hours post-tick attachment, and used for seminested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection of T. parva. T. parva-infected ticks started to transmit the parasites from 72 hours post-tick attachment. As expected, the transmission of T. parva from ticks to mouse skin increased with duration of tick attachment. Transmission of the parasites was 77.7%, 100%, 85.5%, and 100% on day 4, 5, 6, and 7 post-tick attachment, respectively, as could be detected from mice skin biopsies taken from T. parva-infected ticks' attachment sites. These results have important implications for our understanding of early events in the transmission of T. parva and would help in the development of effective pharmacologic substances and/or vaccines against ticks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases