In most parts of the world, ticks are rapidly developing resistance to commonly used acaricides thus rendering control difficult. This constraint is further compounded by the introduction of new species in areas where they did not exist before. Such is the case with the introduction into and rapid spread of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus in some countries of West Africa. With the looming threat of its further spread in the region, the objective of the present study was to update knowledge on cattle ticks in Cameroon. Among 19,189 ticks collected monthly from 60 animals in 5 herds from March 2012 to February 2013, Rh. (B.) decoloratus was the most abundant species with a relative prevalence of 62.2%, followed by Amblyomma variegatum (28.4%), Rh. (B.) annulatus (0.2%), Rh. (B.) geigyi (0.03%), other Rhipicephalus spp. (8.4%) and Hyalomma spp. (0.3%). Rh. (B.) decoloratus and A. variegatum were also the most widely distributed in space. Infestation rate was generally high, with average tick count/animal of about 80 during peak periods. Tick distribution and abundance in the different sites was as varied as the underlying factors, among which the most important were management systems and climatic factors. The effects of rainfall and temperature were confounded by other factors and difficult to evaluate. However, it appears tick development depends among other factors, on a humidity threshold, above which there is not much more effect. Rh. microplus was not found during this study, but more extensive tick collections have to be done to confirm this. In conclusion, cattle tick infestation in Cameroon remains an important cause for concern. Farmers need assistance in the use and management of acaricides in order to increase their efficiency and reduce the development of resistance. Although Rh. microplus was not found, its introduction from other West African countries is imminent if adequate measures, especially in the control and limitation of animal movements, are not taken.
Keywords: Cameroon; Cattle ticks; Climatic factors; Livestock systems; Rhipicephalus microplus.
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