Identification of hard ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and seroprevalence to Theileria parva in cattle raised in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

M.K. Kalume, C. Saegerman, D.K. Mbahikyavolo, A.M. Makumyaviri, T. Marcotty, M. Madder, Y. Caron, L. Lempereur, B. Losson

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


This study aimed to identify tick species and to determine their relationship with the Theileria parva seroprevalence in cattle raised under an extensive farming system in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo in two agro-ecological zones namely medium (1,000-1,850 m) and high (>1,850 m) altitude. Among the 3,215 ticks collected on 482 animals, from February to April 2009, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (64.26 %), the main vector of T. parva, was the most abundant species followed by Rhipicephalus decoloratus (35.49 %) and Amblyomma variegatum (0.25 %). The mean burden of R. appendiculatus tick per infested animal appeared significantly higher at medium (6.5 +/- 0.22 ticks) than at high (0.07 +/- 0.3 ticks) altitude (P <0.05). However, an indirect fluorescent antibody test carried out on 450 blood samples revealed a global T. parva seroprevalence of 43 % (95 % CI: 38-47) which was not significantly (P > 0.05) different between medium (48.4 %; 95 % CI: 38-49) and high (41.9 %; 95 % CI: 35-49) altitude. These relatively low seroprevalences suggest that there is a state of endemicity to T. parva infection in the study area. The presence of the tick vector on animals was associated with an increased risk of being seropositive to T. parva infection (odds ratio = 2.04; 95 % CI: 1.8-2.3; P <0.001). The results suggest the need for a longitudinal study to investigate the seasonal dynamics of tick species and T. parva infection. The rate of tick infection should also be evaluated in order to determine the intensity of T. parva transmission to cattle.
Original languageEnglish
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)789-797
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Animal diseases
  • Theileriasis
  • East Coast fever
  • Theileria parva
  • Vectors
  • Ticks
  • Rhipicephalus appendiculatus
  • Rhipicephalus decoloratus
  • Amblyomma variegatum
  • Cattle
  • Disease burden
  • Prevalence
  • Entomology
  • Identification
  • Farming systems
  • Altitude
  • Endemicity
  • Congo-Kinshasa
  • Africa-Central


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