Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Grand Exhibit Hall (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
This current sampling effort is part of the Biological Threat Reduction Programís development of a sustainable vector-borne disease threat detection and response program in the Republic of Azerbaijan, with an emphasis on Especially Dangerous Pathogens (EDPs). These diseases include both bacterial and viral pathogens, many of which are vectored by ticks. Tick vectors were collected from 14 rayons of Azerbaijan from August 2009 through June 2010. Collection sites were chosen based on environmental characteristics, landscape types, and previous outbreaks or documented cases of disease. Ticks were collected directly from livestock and companion animals and by dragging; GPS and ecological data were also collected at each site. All ticks were identified to the lowest level and stored for future pathogen diagnostic analysis. Over 1000 tick specimens representing 5 genera and 14 species were collected and data are presented by date and developmental stage. Tick species and locality data in the form of latitude and longitude coordinate pairs were then mapped using ArcGIS 9.3.1. These data were then overlain with time-sensitive Landsat 5 satellite imagery (30 m pixel resolution) in an attempt to classify landscape characteristics that correspond to the distribution of the tick species data collected. This work represents initial efforts to characterize the current distribution of medically important ticks. Future efforts will include diagnostic testing of the ticks for EDPs, and mapping pathogen incidence and historical distribution of tick vectors and their pathogens, with the goal of enhancing threat assessment and mitigation of EDPs in Azerbaijan.