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Title: Ixodid ticks : vectors for emerging diseases in Northern Ireland
Author: Lappin, Jonathan William Ernest
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 1067
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This study addressed numerous questions regarding tick ecology and epidemiology in Northern Ireland (N.I.) in an attempt to rectify the paucity of available information. Firstly the general populace were assessed for prior knowledge of ticks and the risk they pose. Tick abundance and distribution was assessed for three years using numerous collection methods. Four species of ixodid ticks were positively identified in the province. They included the infamous widespread vector of pathogens in Europe: Ixodes ricinus, the common ‘mouse tick’ Ixodes trianguliceps, the 'fox tick' Ixodes canisuga and the 'hedgehog tick’ Ixodes hexagonus. I. ricinus was shown to a be a ‘generalist’ in its host preference while the latter three species were shown to be 'specialists' in host specificity. Ixodid ticks were found throughout all six counties of N.I., with peaks of prevalence in counties Fermanagh, Tyrone and Down, reflecting suitable abiotic and biotic factors for tick viability. There was a highly significant effect of deer presence on tick abundance levels. Coniferous and mixed broadleaf forestry was the most frequent habitat for tick presence; although ticks were also recorded in agricultural land, bog land and parks. I. ricinus was shown to be seasonal in its questing activity: beginning to emerge in spring and enter diapause during winter months. Four tick-borne pathogens were positively screened for in N.I. ixodid ticks. The highest prevalence was for Anaplasma sp (21%), followed by Borrelia spp (4.8%), then Babesia sp (2.4%) and Bartonella sp (1.5%). A novel strain of Bartonella was identified, namely Bartonella washoensis and this is the first time to our knowledge this strain of Bartonella has been reported in N.I. or indeed the UK. The presence of two Borrelia spp, namely Borrelia garinii and Borrelia bavariensis were also noted, with the latter being the first time detected in Ireland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available