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Tick-borne pathogens and the vector potential of ticks in China

*Corresponding author: Jingze Liu jzliu21@heinfo.net

Parasites & Vectors 2015, 8:24  doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0628-x

Published: 14 January 2015

Ticks, as obligate blood-sucking ectoparasites, attack a broad range of vertebrates and transmit a great diversity of pathogenic microorganisms. They are considered second only to mosquitoes as vectors of human disease, and the most important vector of pathogens of domestic and wild animals. Of the 117 described species in the Chinese tick fauna, 60 are known to transmit one or more diseases: 36 species isolated within China and 24 species isolated outside China. Moreover, 38 of these species carry multiple pathogens, indicating the potentially vast role of these vectors in transmitting pathogens. Spotted fever is the most common tick-borne disease, and is carried by at least 27 tick species, with Lyme disease and human granulocytic anaplasmosis ranked as the second and third most widespread tick-borne diseases, carried by 13 and 10 species, respectively. Such knowledge provides us with clues for the identification of tick-associated pathogens and suggests ideas for the control of tick-borne diseases in China. However, the numbers of tick-associated pathogens and tick-borne diseases in China are probably underestimated because of the complex distribution and great diversity of tick species in this country.

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