Tick, Flea, and Louse-Borne Diseases of Public Health and Veterinary Significance in Nigeria
Mosquito-borne diseases are common high-impact diseases in tropical and subtropical areas. However, other non-mosquito vector-borne pathogens (VBPs) may share their geographic distribution, seasonality, and clinical manifestations, thereby contributing their share to the morbidity and mortality caused by febrile illnesses in these regions. The purpose of this work was to collect and review existing information and identify knowledge gaps about tick, flea-, and louse-borne diseases of veterinary and public health significance in Nigeria. Full-length articles about VBPs were reviewed and relevant information about the vectors, their hosts, geographic distribution, seasonality, and association(s) with human or veterinary diseases was extracted. Specific laboratory tools used for detection and identification of VBPs in Nigeria were also identified. A total of 62 original publications were examined. Substantial information about the prevalence and impacts of ticks and fleas on pet and service dogs (18 articles), and livestock animals (23 articles) were available; however, information about their association with and potential for causing human illnesses was largely absent despite the zoonotic nature of many of these peri-domestic veterinary diseases.
Recent publications that employed molecular methods of detection demonstrated the occurrence of several classic (Ehrlichia canis, Rickettsia africae, Bartonella sp.) and emerging human pathogens (R. aeschlimannii, Neoehrlichia mikurensis) in ticks and fleas. However, information about other pathogens often found in association with ticks (R. conorii) and fleas (R. typhi, R. felis) across the African continent was lacking. Records of louse-borne epidemic typhus in Nigeria date to 1947; however, its current status is not known. This review provides an essential baseline summary of the current knowledge in Nigeria of non-mosquito VBPs, and should stimulate improvements in the surveillance of the veterinary and human diseases they cause in Nigeria. Due to increasing recognition of these diseases in other African countries, veterinary and public health professionals in Nigeria should expand the list of possible diseases considered in patients presenting with fever of unknown etiology.
I find it increasingly interesting that everyone’s picking up Bartonella, yet it’s hardly on the radar here despite thousands of Lyme/MSIDS patients having symptoms of it. Bartonella is a tough pathogen & can be the guy behind so many psychiatric issues as well as heart issues.
We need to know for certain ticks can transmit it because if they don’t, either the tick bite itself is reactivating a latent infection or we are coming by it another way. One thing’s for certain: it needs to be dealt with on the research front as well as on the medical front.
For more on Bartonella: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/01/03/bartonella-treatment/
For a great read on how those working with animals are especially vulnerable to Bartonella: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/20/humana-bartonellosis-perspectives-of-a-veterinary-internist/
Due to extensive contact with a spectrum of animal species, veterinary professionals appear to have an occupational risk of infection because of frequent exposure to Bartonella spp., therefore these individuals should exercise increased precautions to avoid arthropod bites, arthropod feces (i.e. fleas and lice), animal bites or scratches and direct contact with bodily fluids from sick animals. As Bartonella spp. have been isolated from cat, dog or human blood, cerebrospinal fluid, joint fluid,aqueous fluid, seroma fluid and from pleural, pericardial and abdominal effusions, a substantial number of diagnostic biological samples collected on a daily basis in veterinary practices could contain viable bacteria.
The increasing number of defined Bartonella spp., in conjunction with the high level of bacteremia found in reservoir adapted hosts, which represent the veterinary patient population, ensures that all veterinary professionals will experience frequent and repeated exposure to animals harboring these bacteria. Therefore, personal protective equipment, frequent hand washing and avoiding cuts and needle sticks have become more important as our knowledge of this genus has improved and various modes of transmission have been defined.
Physicians should be educated as to the large number of Bartonella spp. in nature, the extensive spectrum of animal reservoir hosts, the diversity of confirmed and potential arthropod vectors, current limitations associated with diagnosis and treatment efficacy, and the ecological and evolving medical complexity of these highly evolved intravascular, endotheliotropic bacteria.