Adelaide scientists head $12 million international project

Wednesday, 15 December 1999

Two Adelaide University scientists have been selected to lead a worldwide effort to record and describe every known tick.

The Ticks of the World project - expected to cost more than $12 million over the next 15 years - will be managed by Dr Ross Andrews and Dr Trevor Petney from the University's Department of Environmental Biology.

The project is a response to growing worldwide concern about the health threat posed by parasites. Ticks account for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children every year, and the risk of parasitic outbreaks is rising with increased transportation of food and people between countries.

Dr Andrews said the project would result in the production by CSIRO Publishing of a multi-volume series of books and interactive CD-ROMs to help identify and characterise ticks around the world.

"After mosquitos, ticks are the most significant transmitters of disease to humans in both developed and developing countries," he said. "They are the single most important transmitters of disease to domestic animals.

"We know of about 860 species of tick, but new species are being discovered and described each year. This project will provide us with the most comprehensive body of information about ticks ever assembled. It will also result in Adelaide becoming the world centre for information on - and research into - parasites."

Dr Andrews said he was pleased to announce that Olympus Australia had agreed to sponsor the light microscope aspects of the research. The sponsorship agreement will see the company establish a state-of-the-art imaging facility at Adelaide University to support the project.

The first volume and CD-ROM in the series will cover the ticks of Australia. Subsequent volumes and CD ROMs will cover the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia.


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