Importance of ticks in the transmission of zoonotic agents


Oscar Betancur H
Antonio Betancourt E
Cristian Giraldo R


The pathogens transmitted by ticks to human beings are a motive of public health concern around the world, such is the case of Lyme disease in the northern hemisphere, Encephalitis virus in Europe, the recurrent fevers and the Rocky Mountains spotted fever, better known in Colombia as “Tobia Fever”. People of all economic and social conditions are prone to develop a zoonotic agent transmitted by these vectors, which could be infected by several pathogens through co-infection mechanisms. The epidemiology and prevalence of these diseases are affected by ecological, climatic and anthropogenic factors. All these factors, affect in a different manner the enzootic cycle between pathogens, ticks and wild hosts. Current molecular diagnostic tools have allowed to progress in pathogen identification, previously unknown or undetermined. The government intervention capacity of each country, and the multidisciplinary professional cooperation, especially from physicians and veterinarians, is fundamental in order to strategically implement control and prevention plans that can deal with this problematic. The present article aims to make a thorough review of the factors which are favoring the transmission of zoonotic agents by ticks, contextualizing the most important aspects that determine their prevalence, and the most relevant control and prevention measures.

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