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Rhipicephalus sanguineus importation into the UK: surveillance, risk, public health awareness and One Health response
  1. K. M. Hansford, BSc, MSc1,
  2. L. P. Phipps, HNC2,
  3. B. Cull, BSc, PhD1,
  4. M. E. Pietzsch, BSc, MSc, PgDip1 and
  5. J. M. Medlock, BSc, MSc, PhD, FRES1
  1. 1Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology, Emergency Response Department – Science & Technology, Public Health England, Porton Down SP4 0JG, UK
  2. 2Wildlife Zoonoses and Vector Borne Disease Research Group, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: kayleigh.hansford{at}


As part of Public Health England's assessment of vectorborne disease risk to public health in the UK, tick specimens are regularly submitted by veterinarians for identification via the Tick Surveillance Scheme. Recently, a number of these specimens have been identified as the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. This species is non-endemic to the UK and presents a risk to both human and animal health due to its role in the transmission of various tickborne pathogens. Although current climatic conditions in the UK are unlikely to permit the survival of this species outdoors, indoor infestations can occur and this can present a risk of disease transmission within an infested property. This paper documents 40 importation events involving R sanguineus on recently travelled or imported dogs into the UK since 2012. It also provides details of the response following these detections in line with the One Health concept. With the increasing number of dogs travelling or being imported, it is likely that importation and infestation events in the UK will continue and may result in pathogen transmission. It is therefore important to raise awareness of this risk and share lessons learned to improve our prevention and response strategies to this emerging issue.

  • Ticks
  • Importation
  • Risk
  • Pet travel
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus<i></i>
  • Brown dog tick

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  • M. E. Pietzsch, J. M. Medlock are also at NIHR Health Protection Research Unit, Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, UK

  • Provenance: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

  • Funding Funding for work carried out by LPP was provided by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Scottish Government and Welsh Government through grant D1036.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England.

  • Competing interests JMM is affiliated to the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. JMM is based at Public Health England, Porton Down.

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