Researchers Collaborate on Tick Research

PAKISTAN — Researchers from the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease are teaming with colleagues from Pakistan to help the south Asian nation address its growing tick problem.
calendar icon 4 December 2007
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A tick infestation.

“Unlike in Rhode Island where abundant deer tick populations cause alarming numbers of Lyme disease cases in humans, one of the major tick-related problems in Pakistan is the impact of tick-transmitted diseases on livestock,” said URI Entomology Professor Thomas Mather, director of the Center. “In Pakistan, ticks also transmit a virus to humans known as CCHF, sometimes called the Asian Ebola virus because of its contagious and deadly similarity to African Ebola.”

The project is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded $6.9 million U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperative Program, which provided a $290,000 grant to the URI researchers. The Higher Education Commission in Pakistan provided matching funds. The grants will help establish a molecular entomology laboratory in Pakistan, and a research and training program focused on anti-tick vaccine development similar to one at URI.

“Pakistan is an agricultural country in which livestock play an important part, so if we have even a modest tick infestation, it can result in a significant loss of meat and milk production and a negative impact on the economy,” explained Abdullah Arijo, associate professor of parasitology at Sindh Agricultural University in southern Pakistan and the lead Pakistani researcher on the project. “Veterinary pathogens transmitted by ticks especially threaten the livelihood of rural Pakistanis.”

Source: Newswise
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