Molecular screening of cattle ticks, tick-borne pathogens and amitraz resistance in ticks of Santo Domingo de los Ts & aacute;chilas province in Ecuador

Alicia Maya-Delgado, Maxime Madder, Washington Benitez-Ortiz, Claude Saegerman, Dirk Berkvens, Lenin Ron-Garrido

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    The province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas in Ecuador is a strategic place for cattle production and trade. The lack of knowledge about tick species, tick control and tick-borne diseases in Ecuador prompted this study with the goal of identifying the cattle-tick species and tick-borne agents present in the area and molecularly determining the potential acaricide resistance to amitraz of the major cattle tick species. Eighty-four cattle farms were visited and in 88 % of them, cattle were infested with ticks. Additionally, 24 historical samples from other surrounding Ecuadorian provinces, were screened as well. Besides morphological keys, PCR-RFLP MspI was used to confirm the presence of the Rhipicephalus ticks. The tick samples were also screened for tick-borne agents using PCR-RFLP BseDI and Hhal tests to identify circulating Babesia sp. and Anaplasma spp. Furthermore, the PCR-RFLP EciI technique was used to identify the amitraz resistance gene in populations of Rhipicephalus mi-croplus in the province. Pooled testing was used to determine prevalence at individual-tick level. The presence of R. microplus and Amblyomma cajennense sensu lato (s.l.) ticks was found in 83 % and 21 % of the cattle farms respectively, showing R. microplus is widespread in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas. Regarding tick-borne agents, only Anaplasma marginale was observed in 50 % of the visited farms of the province, while about 27 % of the ticks tested positive according to estimations from the data of the tick pools. The presence of Babesia bigemina was only confirmed in samples collected outside the province. The amitraz resistance allele in R. microplus was found in 62 % of the farms, but the percentage of farms with cattle ticks completely resistant to this acaricide was low (2%). The findings of this study should prompt cattle producers and animal health au-thorities to monitor control strategies, which address the management of resistant tick populations and the epidemiologically-unstable areas of tick-borne diseases.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101492
    JournalTicks and Tick-Borne Diseases
    Issue number5
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Cattle ticks
    • Tick-borne pathogens
    • Molecular screening
    • Acaricide
    • Resistance
    • Ecuador
    • STATE
    • PCR


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