Main content area

Wild Rodents and Their Ectoparasites in an Enzootic Plague Focus, Western Iran

Mohammadi, Ali, Sedaghat, Mohammad Mehdi, Abai, Mohammad Reza, Darvish, Jamshid, Mobedi, Iraj, Mahmoudi, Ahmad, Mostafavi, Ehsan
Vector borne and zoonotic diseases 2020 v.20 no.5 pp. 334-347
Apodemus, Ctenophthalmus, Gliridae, Meriones, Microtus, Mus, Nosopsyllus, Sciurus, chloroform, disease vectors, enzootic diseases, ethanol, habitats, hosts, humans, insect surveys, mites, plague, risk, rodents, ticks, vegetation types, wild animals, Iran
Introduction: Entomological surveys of ectoparasites and their hosts are an essential tool for assessing the risks of rodent-borne diseases transmitted to humans by arthropod vectors. Objectives: This study was carried out to update the epidemiological data of plague with respect to species compositions of the rodents and their ectoparasites at enzootic foci located in Kurdistan Province, Iran. Methods: The rodents' habitats were selected based on past records of plague and subclimates in each study district with especial attention to the vegetation type. The trapped rodents were anesthetized using a chloroform chamber, and the animals were then examined for ectoparasites by brushing their hair over a pan containing water. The ectoparasites were collected with a fine brush and preserved in 70% ethanol in screw cap tubes. Results: A total of 208 rodents were trapped from three districts. Taxonomic ranking of the rodents indicated that the specimens belonged to 2 suborders of Myomorpha and Sciuromorpha, 4 families (Muridae, Muscardinidae, Cricetidae, and Sciuridae), 7 genera, including Meriones, Apodemus, Mus, Sciurus, Microtus, and Dryomys, and 15 species. Out of 208 rodents, only 56 (26.9%) were infested with 22 species of ectoparasites. Totally, 312 ectoparasites were isolated from 56 rodents, including 12 flea species (54.5%), 6 mite species (27.3%), 3 tick species (13.6%), and one louse species (4.6%). Five species of fleas were recorded for the first time in Kurdistan Province, including Ctenophthalmus iranus persicus, Paraceras melis melis, Nosopsyllus iranus iranus, Paraceras sp., and Ctenophyllus spp. Conclusion: The finding revealed new records for rodents and ectoparasites in Kurdistan Province, as well as changes in dominant rodent species and their ectoparasites compared to previous studies. This phenomenon can influence the changes in the incidence of plague and its epidemiology.