The Namaqua rock mouse (Micaelamys namaquensis) as a potential reservoir and host of arthropod vectors of diseases of medical and veterinary importance in South Africa

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dc.contributor.author Fagir, Dina M.
dc.contributor.author Ueckermann, Edward A.
dc.contributor.author Horak, Ivan Gerard
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.author Lutermann, Heike
dc.date.accessioned 2014-10-03T12:44:54Z
dc.date.available 2014-10-03T12:44:54Z
dc.date.issued 2014-08
dc.description.abstract BACKGROUND : The role of endemic murid rodents as hosts of arthropod vectors of diseases of medical and veterinary significance is well established in the northern hemisphere. In contrast, endemic murids are comparatively understudied as vector hosts in Africa, particularly in South Africa. Considering the great rodent diversity in South Africa, many of which may occur as human commensals, this is unwarranted. METHODS : In the current study we assessed the ectoparasite community of a widespread southern African endemic, the Namaqua rock mouse (Micaelamys namaquensis), that is known to carry Bartonella spp. and may attain pest status. We aimed to identify possible vectors of medical and/or veterinary importance which this species may harbour and explore the contributions of habitat type, season, host sex and body size on ectoparasite prevalence and abundance. RESULTS : Small mammal abundance was substantially lower in grasslands compared to rocky outcrops. Although the small mammal community comprised of different species in the two habitats, M. namaquensis was the most abundant species in both habitat types. From these 23 ectoparasite species from four taxa (fleas, ticks, mites and lice) were collected. However, only one flea (Xenopsylla brasiliensis) and one tick species (Haemaphysalis elliptica) have a high zoonotic potential and have been implicated as vectors for Yersinia pestis and Bartonella spp. and Rickettsia conorii, respectively. The disease status of the most commonly collected tick (Rhipicephalus distinctus) is currently unknown. Only flea burdens differed markedly between habitat types and increased with body size. With the exception of lice, all parasite taxa exhibited seasonal peaks in abundance during spring and summer. CONCLUSION : M. namaquensis is the dominant small mammal species irrespective of habitat type. Despite the great ectoparasite diversity harboured by M. namaquensis, only a small number of these are known as vectors of diseases of medical and/or veterinary importance but occur at high prevalence and/or abundance. This raises concern regarding the potential of this host as an endemic reservoir for zoonotic diseases. Consequently, additional sampling throughout its distributional range and research addressing the role of M. namaquensis as a reservoir for zoonotic diseases in southern Africa is urgently needed. en_US
dc.description.librarian hb2014 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship University of Pretoria (EC015-10).Third World Organization for Women in Science(TWOWS) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). en_US
dc.description.uri http://www.parasitesandvectors.com en_US
dc.identifier.citation Fagir, DM, Ueckermann, EA, Horak, IG, Bennett, NC & Lutermann, H 2014, 'The Namaqua rock mouse (Micaelamys namaquensis) as a potential reservoir and host of arthropod vectors of diseases of medical and veterinary importance in South Africa', Parasites & Vectors, vol. 7, no. 1, art. #366, pp. 1-11. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1756-3305 (print)
dc.identifier.other 10.1186/1756-3305-7-366
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/42230
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher BioMed Central en_US
dc.rights © 2014 Fagir et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0). en_US
dc.subject Flea en_US
dc.subject Tick en_US
dc.subject Vector en_US
dc.subject Bartonella en_US
dc.subject Rickettsia en_US
dc.subject Zoonotic disease en_US
dc.subject Namaqua rock mouse (Micaelamys namaquensis) en_US
dc.title The Namaqua rock mouse (Micaelamys namaquensis) as a potential reservoir and host of arthropod vectors of diseases of medical and veterinary importance in South Africa en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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