The red sheep tick, Haemaphysalis punctata (Ixodida: Ixodidae), has been reported as present in the U.K. for more than a century; however, very little has been written about its distribution. In recent years, numbers of detections of this tick species reported to the Public Health England (PHE) Tick Surveillance Scheme have increased. This rise in the number of records may be attributable to increased tick surveillance activities or to the increased distribution of this species of tick in parts of England. This paper reviews published reports of H. punctata and all data held by the Biological Records Centre and PHE, and summarizes a number of field studies conducted by PHE and the Animal and Plant Health Agency over the past 8 years. It would appear from the evidence presented here that H. punctata may be expanding its range across the eastern part of the South Downs National Park, where there have also been reports of this tick species biting humans. It is possible that the movement of sheep between grassland sites is facilitating this spread. Further studies that better elucidate the ecology of this tick and its possible role as a vector of human and veterinary diseases are now warranted.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
JMM is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) on Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. JMM, KMH and ELG are partly funded by the NIHR HPRU in Environmental Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with PHE, and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, University College London and the Met Office. LPP is funded through grant SV3045 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
© 2018 Crown copyright. Medical and Veterinary Entomology © 2018 The Royal Entomological Society