The project consists of three inter-related objectives
- Characterize the level and frequency of permethrin resistance.
- Identify canine, bovine, and human pathogens from field-collected ticks.
- Determine the genetic lineages of brown dog ticks collected in Texas and southern states.
In the past, Rhipicephalus sanguineus was considered a single cosmopolitan species. More recently, however, the tick was characterized as a species complex, with a vague distribution of these possible species and an increased likeliness that not all species complex members are capable of specific pathogen transmission.
Acaricide resistance has been recognized and described recently, with a basic understanding of which lineages were associated with resistance expression. Additionally, R. sanguineus is characterized as having a strong feeding preference toward canines, yet this tick has been discovered feeding on humans and cattle. This preference could suggest a host-range expansion, or more likely is an indication that multiple species are present in the US and potentially elsewhere in the world.
This project aims to determine whether brown dog ticks harbor pathogens, if they are acaricide resistant, and if both of these characteristics are associated with lineage. By doing this, we can better address the expansion of tick-borne diseases, develop better treatment and prevention methods, and ultimately protect humans, companion animals, and livestock.