Simulation tools for assessment of tick suppression treatments of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus on non-lactating dairy cattle in Puerto Rico
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BACKGROUND: The southern cattle fever tick (SCFT), Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, remains endemic in Puerto Rico. Systematic treatment programmes greatly reduced and even eradicated temporarily this tick from the island. However, a systemic treatment programme that includes integrated management practices for livestock against SCFT remains to be established in the island. We describe a spatially-explicit, individual-based model that simulates climate-livestock-SCFT-landscape interactions. This model was developed as an investigative tool to aid in a research project on integrated management of the SCFT that took place in Puerto Rico between 2014 and 2017. We used the model to assess the efficacy of tick suppression and probability of tick elimination when applying safer acaricides at 3-week intervals to different proportions of a herd of non-lactating dairy cattle. RESULTS: Probabilities of eliminating host-seeking larvae from the simulated system decreased from ≈ 1 to ≈ 0 as the percentage of cattle treated decreased from 65 to 45, with elimination probabilities ≈ 1 at higher treatment percentages and ≈ 0 at lower treatment percentages. For treatment percentages between 65% and 45%, a more rapid decline in elimination probabilities was predicted by the version of the model that produced higher densities of host-seeking larvae. Number of weeks after the first acaricide application to elimination of host-seeking larvae was variable among replicate simulations within treatment percentages, with within-treatment variation increasing markedly at treatment percentages ≤ 65. Number of weeks after first application to elimination generally varied between 30 and 40 weeks for those treatment percentages with elimination probabilities ≈ 1. CONCLUSIONS: Explicit simulation of the spatial and temporal dynamics of off-host (host-seeking) larvae in response to control methods should be an essential element of research that involves the evaluation of integrated SCFT management programmes. This approach could provide the basis to evaluate novel control technologies and to develop protocols for their cost-effective use with other treatment methods.
author list (cited authors)
Wang, H., Teel, P. D., Grant, W. E., Soltero, F., Urdaz, J., Ramírez, A., Miller, R. J., & Pérez de León, A. A.