Genetic characterization of field strains and laboratory stocks of the tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, the main vector of the cattle disease East Coast Fever

The ixodid tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, the main vector of Theileria parva, is the causative agent of East Coast Fever ( ECF ), a disease of cattle. ECF is a fatal lymphoproliferative disease, considered to be most economically important tick -borne disease in East, Central and Southern Africa.It is associated with high levels of mortality, especially in exotic and cross- bred cattle. This disease is a major constraint to improvement of livestock production across this part of Africa. R.appendiculatus also transmits other strains of Theileria parva which cause Corridor of Buffalo disease and Zimbabwean theileriosis, and is also a vector of T.taurotragi, a pathogenic parasite of eland which generlly does not cause disease in cattle. The principal measure used to control R. appendiculatus ticks is application of acaricides.