Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting cattle in coastal Kenya harbor a diverse array of tick-borne pathogens

Joseph Oundo*, Shewit Kalayou, Quirine ten Bosch, Jandouwe Villinger, Constantianus J.M. Koenraadt, Daniel Masiga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ticks and the microbes they transmit have emerged in sub-Saharan Africa as a major threat to veterinary and public health. Although progress has been made in detecting and identifying tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) across vast agroecologies of Kenya, comprehensive information on tick species infesting cattle and their associated pathogens in coastal Kenya needs to be updated and expanded. Ticks infesting extensively grazed zebu cattle in 14 villages were sampled and identified based on morphology and molecular methods and tested for the presence of bacterial and protozoan TBPs using PCR with high-resolution melting analysis and gene sequencing. In total, 3,213 adult ticks were collected and identified as Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (15.8%), R. evertsi (12.8%), R. microplus (11.3%), R. pulchellus (0.1%), Amblyomma gemma (24.1%), A. variegatum (35.1%), Hyalomma rufipes (0.6%), and H. albiparmatum (0.2%). Ticks were infected with Rickettsia africae, Ehrlichia ruminantium, E. minasensis, Theileria velifera and T. parva. Coxiella sp. endosymbionts were detected in the Rhipicephalus and Amblyomma ticks. Co-infections with two and three different pathogens were identified in 6.9% (n = 95/1382) and 0.1% (n = 2/1382) of single tick samples, respectively, with the most common co-infection being R. africae and E. ruminantium (7.2%, CI: 4.6 – 10.6). All samples were negative for Coxiella burnetii, Anaplasma spp. and Babesia spp. Our study provides an overview of tick and tick-borne microbial diversities in coastal Kenya.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102266
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Ehrlichia
  • Kenya
  • Rickettsia
  • Theileria
  • Tick-borne pathogens
  • Ticks


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