Prevalence and seasonal variation of ticks in trade cattle consumed in EDO state, Nigeria
Innocent O Adane, Christopher E Okaka, Agnes O Aiwaritoma, Peter A Osagie, Joseph E Igetei
Background: Ticks are great threat to humans and livestock, Either directly as ectoparasites and indirectly by acting as vectors of various pathogens. The study was undertaken to ascertain the prevalence and seasonal variation in tick species infecting trade cattle (Bos indicus) slaughtered in two main abattoirs situated in Ikpoba-Okha and Oredo Local Government areas (LGAs) in Benin city, Edo state, Nigeria, both of which serve as the major supply of beef to inhabitants of the state. Methods: The skin of one thousand two hundred (1200) cattle predominantly of the zebu breed were examined prior to slaughter with the help of veterinary doctors in the two locations. Tick prevalence, mean intensity, seasonal and sexual variations were analyzed using statistical methods. Results: Of the 1200 cattle investigated, 258 harboured at least one tick species, revealing an overall prevalence of 21.5%. A total of 15839 individual tick were recovered from the infected cattle revealing an overall mean parasite intensity of 61.39. Three species of tick were recovered with prevalence and mean parasite intensity respectively, as follows: Amblyoma. variegatum (17.58%, 8.29), Rhiphicephalus species (21.5%, 24.75), and Rhiphicephalus microplus (21.5%, 29.83). Analysis of single and multiple tick infestation among infected trade cattle revealed heavy infestation, as 81.01% harboured triple infections, 18.22% had double infestation while 0.78% had single infection. All three tick species were prevalent in every month of the year, however, with varying frequency. R. microplus showed the highest occurrence in all the months of the year, but in February, where Rhiphicephalus sp. was highest, while A. variegatum recorded the least occurrence in all the months of the year. The prevalence and mean parasite intensity respectively, of tick infestation in cattle studied was higher in the rainy season (28.19%, 67.55), when compared to the dry season (14.74%, 49.71). In relation to sex, female cattle recorded a higher tick prevalence and mean intensity (24.19%, 63.12) respectively, than males (20.44%, 60.55). Also, females recorded a higher prevalence and mean parasite intensity in all three tick species than males, except for A. variegatum, where the males recorded a higher mean intensity. Conclusion: The high intensity of tick infestation observed herein have negative implications on the health of cattle which in turn translates in low productivity and output. Hence, good rearing practices involving ranching, controlled pasture grazing, provision of veterinary care and sanitation should be adopted by farmers to ensure the health of cattle, output maximization and prevention of zoonosis.