A cross-sectional study was carried out in the Mbeya Region, Tanzania, with the aim of describing the distribution and diversity of ectoparasites on pigs, within confinement and free-range production systems of smallholder farms. A total of 128 farms were surveyed, with 96 practising confinement and 32 practising free-range production systems. The prevalence of ectoparasites on pigs within confinement and free-range production systems was 24% and 84%, respectively. Logistic regression analyses revealed that keeping pigs in a free-range system and the presence of neighbouring pigs were risk factors for ectoparasites. Within the confinement system, contact with neighbouring pigs and the time interval (in months) since last ectoparasitic treatment were additionally identified as risk factors. The prevalence of Haematopinus suis was 20% in confined pigs and 63% among free-range pigs. Free-ranging of pigs and presence of neighbouring pigs were also identified as risk factors for the presence of lice. Three species of fleas were identified; Tunga penetrans, Echidnophaga gallinacea and Ctenocephalides canis. The prevalence of fleas was 5% and 13% within confined and free-range, respectively. Two pigs (2%) were found infested with Sarcoptes scabiei var. suis. Ticks found belonged to four genera; Amblyomma spp., Rhipicephalus spp., Haemaphysalis spp., and Boophilus spp. The prevalence of hard ticks among the free-range pigs was 50%. Ectoparasites were more prevalent in the free-range system although highly prevalent within both production systems. Keeping pigs in a free-range system and contact with neighbouring pigs were main risk factors for the presence of ectoparasites. Confinement was highly effective as a preventive tool against hard ticks.
Veterinary Parasitology, 2013, Vol 196, Issue 1-2, p. 241-244