Record of Tropical Rat Mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti (Acari: Mesostigmata: Macronyssidae) from Domestic and Peridomestic Rodents (Rattus rattus) in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India
AbstractBackground: Tropical rat mite (Ornithonyssus bacoti) is reported from many parts of the world and is considered important in transmitting rickettsial pathogens. There have been scanty reports on prevalence of this parasite from India. Following a recent report of O. bacoti infestation in a laboratory mice colony from Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India, attempts were made to detect the parasite in its natural reservoir, ie the domestic and peridomestic rats (Rattus rattus).Methods: The National Centre for Disease Control, Coonoor is involved in screening plague in domestic and peridomestic rats in Nilgiris and erstwhile plague endemic areas of Southern India. The parasite samples were identified based on the morphological characteristics attributable to O. bacoti and as per description of published literature.Results: Seven mite samples identified as O. bacoti based on morphological characteristics were isolated incidentally from domestic and peridomestic rodents in and around the hilly districts of Nilgiris, Southern India, during the routine plague surveillance programme. The identification was based on the morphological characteristics attributable to O. bacoti observed under a low power microscope.Conclusion: In India, this is probably the first record of isolation of O. bacoti from domestic and peridomestic rodents. Prevalence of such parasite in domestic and peridomestic rats necessitates further investigation on monitoring and surveillance of rickettsial diseases in the locality, as these parasites are considered to be potential vector of transmitting rickettsial pathogens
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