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Performance of the BABSIM program in epidemiological studies on Boophilus microplus (Canestrini, 1889) (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks

A.H. Fonseca M.J.S. Pereira A.H. Fonseca R.C. Leite About the authors

Simulation models are useful tools in the analysis of bio-ecological interrelations of ticks. The purpose of the present work was to evaluate the performance of the BABSIM program, in epidemiological studies on B. microplus in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Adjustments were made in the program by comparative analysis of B. microplus population curves observed and simulated in Pedro Leopoldo and São Miguel do Anta, State of Minas Gerais. Two sets of simulation were carried out. One used the original parameters of BABSIM, whereas in the other adjustments were made to the minimum temperature threshold for preoviposition, incubation host-finding and survival rate factors of B. microplus. The adjustments to biological parameters were able to increase the simulated infestation levels of ticks, but unable to improve the prediction of population dynamic in the São Miguel do Anta ecosystem. The simulation results with adjustments and original parameters, showed variability through the years, in comparison to experimental field results of Pedro Leopoldo. Despite the contribution of the simulation results to the analysis of variables determining changes on ticks population size in the studied ecosystems, they showed that BABSIM needs new submodels that represent the interconnection between parasite and ecological conditions. Besides, there is a need to modify the program making possible changes in the animal management within the same year of simulation and, therefore, justifying the population dynamic in different ecosystems with higher accuracy.

Tick; Boophilus microplus; cattle; epidemiology; simulation

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil