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Tick-borne pathogens, including Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, at livestock markets and slaughterhouses in western Kenya
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  • Tatenda Chiuya,
  • Daniel Masiga,
  • Laura Falzon,
  • Armanda BastosOrcid,
  • Eric Fevre,
  • Jandouwe VillingerOrcid
Tatenda Chiuya
University of Pretoria, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
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Daniel Masiga
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
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Laura Falzon
International Livestock Research Institute, University of Liverpool
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Armanda Bastos
Orcid
University of Pretoria
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Eric Fevre
International Livestock Research Institute, University of Liverpool
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Jandouwe Villinger
Orcid
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
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Peer review status:POSTED

29 Jul 2020Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
29 Jul 2020Assigned to Editor
29 Jul 2020Submission Checks Completed

Abstract

Vectors of emerging infectious diseases have expanded their distributional ranges in recent decades due to increased global travel, trade connectivity, and climate change. Transboundary range shifts, arising from the continuous movement of humans and livestock across borders, are of particular disease control concern. Several tick-borne diseases are known to circulate between eastern Uganda and the western counties of Kenya, with one fatal case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) reported in 2000 in Western Kenya. Recent reports of CCHF in Uganda has highlighted the risk of cross-border disease translocation and the importance of establishing inter-epidemic, early warning systems to detect possible outbreaks. We therefore carried out surveillance of tick-borne zoonotic pathogens at livestock markets and slaughterhouses in three counties of Western Kenya that neighbour Uganda. Ticks and other ectoparasites were collected from livestock and identified using morphological keys. The two most frequently sampled tick species were Rhipicephalus decoloratus (35%) and Amblyomma variegatum (30%) and Ctenocephalides felis, and Haematopinus suis were also present. In total 486 ticks, lice, and fleas were screened for pathogen presence using established molecular workflows incorporating high-resolution melting analysis and identified through PCR-sequencing of PCR products. We detected CCHF virus in Rh. decoloratus and Rhipicephalus sp. cattle ticks and 82 of 96 pools of Am. variegatum were positive for Rickettsia africae. Apicomplexan protozoa and bacteria of veterinary importance, such as Theileria parva, Babesia bigemina, and Anaplasma marginale, were primarily detected in rhipicephaline ticks. Our findings show the presence of several pathogens of public health and veterinary importance in ticks from livestock at livestock markets and slaughterhouses in Western Kenya. Confirmation of CCHF virus, a Nairovirus that causes haemorrhagic fever with a high case fatality rate in humans highlights the risk of under-diagnosed zoonotic diseases and calls for the continuous surveillance and development of preventative measures.