Coincident Tick Infestations in the Nostrils of Wild Chimpanzees and a Human in Uganda | Academic Article individual record

Ticks in the nostrils of humans visiting equatorial African forests have been reported sporadically for decades, but their taxonomy and natural history have remained obscure. We report human infestation with a nostril tick in Kibale National Park, Uganda, coincident with infestation of chimpanzees in the same location with nostril ticks, as shown by high-resolution digital photography. The human-derived nostril tick was identified morphologically and genetically as a nymph of the genus Amblyomma, but the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA or the nuclear intergenic transcribed spacer 2 DNA sequences of the specimen were not represented in GenBank. These ticks may represent a previously uncharacterized species that is adapted to infesting chimpanzee nostrils as a defense against grooming. Ticks that feed upon apes and humans may facilitate cross-species transmission of pathogens, and the risk of exposure is likely elevated for persons who frequent ape habitats.

author list (cited authors)
Hamer, S. A., Bernard, A. B., Donovan, R. M., Hartel, J. A., Wrangham, R. W., Otali, E., & Goldberg, T. L.
publication date
  • Ticks
  • Dna, Intergenic
  • Pan Troglodytes
  • Nose
  • Uganda
  • Animals
  • Nymph
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Base Sequence
  • Tick Infestations
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Humans
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