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Iranian J Arthropod- Borne Dis, (2007), 1(1): 57-61 Z Telmadarraiy et al.: Determination of Rodent…
Short Communication

Determination of Rodent Ectoparasite Fauna in Sarpole-Zahab
District, Kermanshah Province, Iran, 2004-2005
*Z Telmadarraiy, H Vatandoost, S Mohammadi, AA Akhavan, MR Abai, J Rafinejad, EB Kia,
F Faghih Naini, M Jedari, M Aboulhasani
Dept. of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of Public Health and Institute of Health Research, Medical Sciences/University of Tehran, Iran (Received 8 Oct 2006; accepted 22 Apr 2007)


Ectoparasites of various species of rodents were examined from Sarepole Zehab, Kermanshah Province Iran during 2005. This city is bordered with Iraq. A total of 139 rodents included 6 species of hosts were captured during all different
seasons and examined for ectoparasites using live trap. The area of study was mainly plateu (70%) and mountanous. The
hosts including: Microtus socialis, Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, Nesokia indica, Meriones persicus and Tatera indica. The
9 species of ectoparasites recovered included 3 fleas (Pulex irritans, Xenopsylla buxtoni, Nosopsyllus medus), one sucking
lice (Polyplax spinolosa), two ticks (Rhipicephalus sp., Hyalomma sp.), and 3 mites (Lealaps nuttalli, Dermanysus
sanguineus, Ornithonussus bacoti
). Among all arthropod collected, the lice and flea had the most and least frequency, i.e.
77.7% and 4.4%, respectivelly. The data showed that the ectoparasites on some rodent hosts tend to prefer particular host
body sites, and that some ectoparasite species sites may overlap owing to their inaccessibility to the host.

Rodents, Ectoparasites, Iran


ver. Infection with Penicillium marneffei is es- sentially a disease of rodents, but can occur in Most medically important rodents belong to AIDS patients in Southeast Asia (Bell et al. the families of Muridae and the Cricetidae. Ro- 1988, Vatandoost et al. 2003, Telmadarraiy et dents play a role in many diseases, such as plague, transmitted by the rat flea Xenopsylla The aim of this study was to find geographi- cheopis and Weil's disease, a severe form of cal distribution of rodents and their ectoparasites leptospirosis transmitted via infected rat urine. for implementation of any prevention and con- Rodents play a role in conditions such as echi- trol measures for zoonotic diseases in the region. nococcosis (E. multilocularis), trichinellosis, Lyme borreliosis, salmonellosis, rat bite fever, MATERIALS AND METHODS
tularemia, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, Hy- menolepis diminuta and rickettsioses such as Geographical information
RMSF, scrub typhus and murine typhus. Haem- orrhagic fevers that are transmitted by rodents 54° 52; Attitude 34° 24́; Elevation 550 meter, ("rodent-borne") include Hantaviruses and Arena precipitation 500 mm; Maximum temperature viruses such as Junin, Machupo and Lassa fe- *Corresponding author: Dr Z Telmadarraiy, Tel: +98 21
66465404, Fax: +98 21 66462267, E-mail: [email protected]
Iranian J Arthropod- Borne Dis, (2007), 1(1): 57-61 Z Telmadarraiy et al.: Determination of Rodent…
Rodent collection
ectoparasites were collected. Subsequently all Rodents were live trapped at different lo- of them were identfied in labratoary. Rodents calities including Markaziand Humeh Ghaleh- belong to suborder Myomorpha, family of Muri- Shahin Zahab and Posht-Tangh Beshive and dae (Subfamily: Murinae), Critidae (Subfamily: Patagh. The collection was carried out on vari-
Gerbillinae and Microtinae) (Table 1). Three spe- ous occasions in years 2004- 2005. Live traps cies of Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, and Ne- were randomly set in different habitats (e.g., sokia indica were found in all parts of the study woodland transects, woodland, old fields, re- area. There was no significant difference in dis- fuse heaps, beside dump, in and around demol- tribution of two commensal rodent in their dis- ished buildings at different localities). Traps tribution (P> 0.05), However wild rodents was were baited with favorable food of rodents ac- found significantly different in their abundance and frequency (P< 0.05). There was significant Collecting of ectoparasites
difference among rodent species in their habi- Captured animals were transported to labo- tats (P< 0.05). Tatera indica was found more ratory and their ectoparasites were picked up. infested by different ectoparasites than other Fleas, mites, lice and ticks were collected using species (78.1%). The figure for Microtus so- brushing against the fur of rodents. In some cases of ticks they were collected by forceps. The ectoparasites were found mainly from Ectoparasites were stored in 70% ethanol for different species of flea, mite, lice and ticks (Table 2, Fig.1). Several indicators such as: Ec- Ectoparasite and rodent identification
toparasite Species Richness, Mean abundance, Ectoparasite Catch Range, and Specific Diver- ing different stages of clearing, dehydration and sity Index were determined for each rodent and mounting procedures. Finally specimens were ectoparasites. These indicators mainly depend fixed in between microscope slides and cover on season, rodent species, ectoparasite species, glass using Canadabalzam. Different criteria of location, method of catch, geographical situa- morphology of rodents were used for species tion, ecological condition, rodent predators, sea- sonal activities, and population dynamics. Xenop- Field operation, site selection, active recon- sylla buxtoni was found in all seasons; however naissance, trap timing, trapping method, trap this species was more prevalent in summer. In baiting, trap collection, biometrics measurement, contrast, Pulex irritans are active during winter. data recoding, ectoparasites collection labora- Nosopsyllus medus was found mainly in spring. tory operation, preparation of rodent skulls, Polyplax spinulosa are found mainly in autumn. mounting of ectoparasite, identification using Hyalomma sp. and Laelaps nuttalli in spring, valid keys, confirmation of some species by and Rhipicephalus sp. in summer were more expertise Institute was carried out according to standard methods provided. Some ticks were collected at the immature stage, so that they In four different epidemiological parts of the county a total of 139 rodents of both sexes were captured and from them 753 sample of Iranian J Arthropod- Borne Dis, (2007), 1(1): 57-61 Z Telmadarraiy et al.: Determination of Rodent…
Table 1. Species composition of rodents, Sarpolezahab District, Kermanshah Province, 2004-2005
Rodent species
Rodents catch at different area
Rodent catch rate Chi-Square
Zahab and Posht-Tangh
Beshive and
Mus musculus 9 25.0 8 22.2 10 27.8 9 25.0 36 25.8 0.794 Rattus rattus 6 31.6 4 21.1 3 15.8 6 31.6 19 13.6 0.782 Nesokia indica 8 22.9 7 20.0 5 14.3 15 42.9 35 25.2 0.042 Microtus socialis 31 30.2 19 45.3 57 13.0 32 11.5 139 100.0 0.000 Table 2. Ectoparasite groups among rodents, Sarpolezahab District, Kermanshah Province, 2004-2005
Rodent species
Rodents catch at different area
Total catch rate
Fleas Mites Lice
Catch Catch rate Catch
Mus musculus
Rattus rattus
Nesokia indica
Microtus socialis
Meriones persicus
Tatera indica
Xenopsylla buxtoni
Pulex sp.
Nosopsylluss meduss
Hyalommaa sp.
Rhipicephalus sp
Laelaps nuttalli
Ornithonyssus bacoti
Dermanyssus sanguineus
Polyplax spinulosa
Fig. 1. Different ectoparasites collected from rodents in the study area
Iranian J Arthropod- Borne Dis, (2007), 1(1): 57-61 Z Telmadarraiy et al.: Determination of Rodent…
There are several reports in the world indi- The authors would like to thank of the staff cation variation of those indicators (Abulhab of Sar pol-e-Zahab Health Center for their ex- 1984, Meehan 1984, Shoukry et al.1986, Durden cellent assistance in achieving this study. This et al. 2000, Shayan 2003, Kia et al. 2004). Lae- project received financial support from deputy laps nuttalli, and Polyplax spinulosa was also for Education Affairs of School of Public Health, reported from Mongolia (Chuluun et al. 2005). The prevalence and general indices of some ectoparasites in this area showed differences REFERENCES
related to the locality of their rat hosts. Sea- sonal changes in the general indices of some Abulhab J (1984) Some ectoparasites of the com- ectoparasites paralleled seasonal changes in the mensal rodent in Baghdad. Bull of Endemic The indices of infestation by the mites Lae- Acha, PN and Szyfres B (1987) Zoonoses and laps nuttalli, the louse Polyplax spinulosa and the flea Xenopsylla cheopis, on Rattus norvegicus norvegicus in Brazil were related to seasonal period, sex of the host and area of capture (Linardi et al. 1985). Mode of transmission of zoonoses: infections transmitted from ani- disease from rodents to human are; feces, urine, saliva, blood and milk. Factors explaining the emergence of a zoonotic or potentially zoonotic Chuluun B, Mariana A, Ho T, Mohd Kulaimi B disease are usually complex, involving mecha- (2005) Preliminary survey of ectoparasites nisms at the molecular level, such as genetic drift and shift, and modification of the immu- nological status of individuals and populations. Durden LA, Hu R, Oliver JH, Cilek JE (2000) Social and ecological conditions influencing Rodent ectoparasites form two location in population growth and movement, food habits, northwestern Florida. J Vect Ecol. 25(2): the environment and many other factors may play a more important role than changes at the Kia E, Telmadarraiy Z, Vatandoost H, Homayou- molecular level. The probability of disease trans- ni MM, Satvat M, Jedari M, Kasiri F (2004) mission from animals to man is influenced by Ectoparasites and arthropoda- borne para- several factors such as: length of time the ani- sites of Brown rat, Rattus norvegicus in Ah- mal is infective, length of the incubation period vaz, southwest Iran. XXII International Con- in animals (this is important in some diseases gress of Entomology. Queensland, Australia. with long incubation periods, because the ani- mals may be studied and euthanatized before Ectoparasites of rodents of the urban region they become infective for humans, the stability of Belo Horizonte, MG. II. Variations of the infestation indices in Rattus norvegicus In conclusion, results of our study are able norvegicus. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 80(2): to provide a clue for prevention and control of zoonotic diseases in the region for local au- Meehan AP (1984) Rat and Mice, their biology thorities and in the emergency situations. and control. Rentokit LTD [Publ]. England. Iranian J Arthropod- Borne Dis, (2007), 1(1): 57-61 Z Telmadarraiy et al.: Determination of Rodent…
Shayan A (2003) Study of Rodents and their ec- thesis]. Tarbiat Modarres University, Iran. Kady GA (1986) Seasonal activities of two Vatandoost H, Ghaderi A, Javadian E, Zahir nia Sinai governorate, Egypt. J Egypt Soc Para- M, Telmadarreiy Z, Aboulghasani M (2003) Distribution of soft ticks and their infection with Borrelia in Hamadan Province, Iran. (2004) A survey on fauna of ticks in west Azer-baijan Province, Iran. Iranian J Publ Health. 33: 65-9.

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