Prof. Dr. Sazaly Abu Bakar, UM
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Razita Hod, UKM
Dr. Khoo Jing Jing, UM
Gilmore G. Bolongon, PERHILITAN
Noor Azleen binti Mohd Kulaimi, PERHILITAN
Ticks are disease vectors that have been implicated in the transmission of zoonotic diseases. Ticks can feed on multiple animal hosts in a lifetime, thus able to transmit zoonotic agents between numbers of hosts. In Malaysia, ticks are commonly found feeding off wildlife including wild boars and small mammals or reptiles, as well as domestic animals such as cattle, goats, and dogs. Humans living in close contacts with these animals are at risk to ticks bite and possible transmission of zoonotic agents. However, studies on the prevalence of tick-borne zoonotic agents and the risk factors of tick-borne diseases in Malaysia remained scarce. Furthermore, the risk perceptions of tick-borne diseases among the affected communities, including the Orang Asli, farm workers, and wildlife officers are also under-studied. This study will investigate the risk factors of tick-borne diseases in Malaysia, including the presence of tick-borne zoonotic agents in Malaysia, as well as the risk perception and awareness among the human population at-risk, such as the Orang Asli and wildlife research officers. The study uses One Health approach to employ the field animal sampling, laboratory research, preliminary questionnaire interviews, and community engagements. Currently, we have undertaken the questionnaire survey and ectoparasite collections across 9 sites in the states of Selangor, Perak, and Pahang. By conducting this activity, we were improving the awareness of the rural communities, including Orang Asli and FELDA settlers, as well as wildlife researchers from PERHILITAN on the risks of tick-borne diseases. New knowledge on risk factors of tick-borne zoonotic diseases obtained from this project will be crucial to increase the awareness among the population at risk and to inform plans for surveillance and research activities.