Parasitic diseases account for important health hazard in man and animal in tropical countries. Ectoparasites infections cause serious threat to animals health and economy every year. They can cause annoyance, irritation, skin infection, anaemia, tick fever as well as act as a vector for various devastating diseases of livestock importance. Among ectoparasites, tick borne infections are recognized as most devastating ectoparasites causing huge economic losses.  Likewise, ectoparasites are of great concern due to their increasing prevalence, zoonotic potential and lowered animal productivity.

Ectoparasites infections cause serious threat to animals health and economy every year

Control solutions and drawbacks

Ectoparasites infecting various species of animals are controlled using synthetic insecticides which is most practiced method throughout the world in spite of several problems like development of resistance, public concern in terms of residue in food and environment pollution. Therefore, use of insecticides has been limited due to development of insecticidal drug resistance to ticks, lice, fleas and mites.

Due to resistance problems alternative options are incorporated to control parasitic infections infecting animals. Among alternatives, recently the use of plant driven agents and vaccination has been an area of focused research in several countries.

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Development and role of ectoparasites vaccination

New strategies are needed to identify tick protective antigens for development of improved vaccines. These strategies will be greatly enhanced by vaccinomics approaches starting from the study of tick-host-pathogen molecular interactions and ending in the characterization and validation of vaccine formulations.

Advances in genomics and other omics over the past two decades have given rise to a third generation of vaccines based on technologies such as structural and reverse vaccinology, immunomics, functional genomics and the systems biology approach. The application of omics approaches is shortening the time required to develop the vaccines and increasing the probability of discovery of potential vaccine.

The use of vaccines has multiple benefits such as improving animal health and welfare by controlling animal infections and infestations, improving public health by controlling zoonoses in animals; solving problems associated with resistance to antiprotozoans drugs; keeping animals and the environment free of chemical residues and maintaining biodiversity.

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Therefore, sustainable control has been based on vaccination. All of these attributes should lead to improved sustainability of animal production and economic benefits worldwidely.

This article is jointly written by Dr. Asghar Abbas, Dr. Muhammad Asif Raza, Dr. Rao Zahid Abbas and Dr. Muhammad Mohsin. The authors are from Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan, Pakistan). Corresponding author can be reached at abbasasghar255@gmail.com.

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