Arthropods and associated arthropod-borne diseases transmitted by migrating birds. The case of ticks and tick-borne pathogens

Olivier Sparagano, David George, Annunziata Giangaspero, Eva Špitalská

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)


Geographic spread of parasites and pathogens poses a constant risk to animal health and welfare, particularly given that climate change is expected to potentially expand appropriate ranges for many key species. The spread of deleterious organisms via trade routes and human travelling is relatively closely controlled, though represents only one possible means of parasite/pathogen distribution. The transmission via natural parasite/pathogen movement between geographic locales, is far harder to manage. Though the extent of such movement may be limited by the relative inability of many parasites and pathogens to actively migrate, passive movement over long distances may still occur via migratory hosts. This paper reviews the potential role of migrating birds in the transfer of ectoparasites and pathogens between geographic locales, focusing primarily on ticks. Bird-tick-pathogen relationships are considered, and evidence provided of long-range parasite/pathogen transfer from one location to another during bird migration events. As shown in this paper not only many different arthropod species are carried by migrating birds but consequently these pests carry many different pathogens species which can be transmitted to the migrating birds or to other animal species when those arthropods are dropping during these migrations. Data available from the literature are provided highlighting the need to understand better dissemination paths and disease epidemiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61–66
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Early online date30 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Veterinary Parasitology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Veterinary Parasitology, [213, 1-2, (2016)] DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.08.028

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Animal Migration
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Climate Change
  • Tick Infestations
  • Tick-Borne Diseases
  • Ticks
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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