Hyalomma marginatum ticks are an important vector of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus which can result in a severe and potentially fatal disease in humans. Given the continued emergence of clinical cases in Eurasia and focalised upsurges of . H. marginatum populations in Europe, it seemed prudent to assess the potential of this vector species to be introduced into the United Kingdom. Immature forms of . H. marginatum are frequent ectoparasites of passerine birds many of which migrate from Africa to the UK each spring. Incoming birds were inspected for ticks during the spring migration in 2010 and 2011. A total of 68 ticks was collected from 971 birds (29 bird species), 21% (14) of the ticks were identified as . H. marginatum. . Oenanthe oenanthe (Northern wheatear) and . Sylvia communis (Whitethroat) were found to be infested by this tick in both years and with multiple ticks. Single specimens were also removed from . Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Sedge warbler) and . Phoenicurus phoenicurus (Common redstart) in 2010. This study provides the first contemporary evidence for substantial importation of this tick species into the UK.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research would not have been possible without the assistance of Martin Cade and the many visiting ringers at Portland Bird Observatory. The authors would also like to credit and thank Martin Cade for the photographs included in this publication, Steve Leach (HPA) for his constructive comments on this manuscript, and Christopher Logue (HPA) for testing the ticks. Verification of identification of Hy. marginatum immatures was kindly provided by Professor Ali Bouattour, Head of the Unit of Medical Entomology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunisia. This work was funded by HPA Strategic R&D Fund (UKVECTOR), National Institute for Health Research . The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the HPA, FERA, NHS, NIHR, or the Department of Health.
- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus
- Hyalomma marginatum
- Migratory birds