First evidence of resistance to macrocyclic lactones in Psoroptes ovis sheep scab mites in the UK

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Abstract

Ovine psoroptic mange (sheep scab) is an infection of substantial economic and animal welfare concern in the UK. Its prevalence has increased rapidly over the last 20 years and management is dependent on a small number of acaricidal compounds, many of which are also used to control a range of other endoparasites and ectoparasites. Here, the effects of the macrocyclic lactone (ML) moxidectin was considered using in vitro assays against mites from four farm populations where persistent treatment failure had been reported: two in West Wales, one from the England/Wales border and one in Herefordshire. The data demonstrate resistance in mites from all four farms. This is the first quantitative evidence of ML resistance in Psoroptes mites in the UK. Given the similarities in their mode of action it is highly likely that cross-resistance across the range of this class of compound will be found. The development of resistance to moxidectin is of considerable concern given the already high prevalence of scab infection in some regions; major difficulties in scab management should be anticipated if ML resistance becomes widely established in the UK.

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