The tick unit, also referred to as the vector lab, is a unit under the animal biosciences program that has been in existence since 1979. The unit is instrumental to past and present ILRI contributions to animal health research through vaccine development and vector genomics. The unit has the ability to perform controlled animal experiments using up to 16 cattle (the target host for most interventions) simultaneously.
ILRI tick unit includes a unique biological resource not found anywhere else in the world, comprising of four (three) genera of ticks; Rhipicephalus, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus), Hyalomma and Amblyomma. Laboratory colonies presently under maintenance at the unit are:
- Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (7 different stocks and lines from Eastern and Southern Africa). The R. appendiculatus tick populations include selected lines derived from the Kiambu stock that differ in susceptibility to T. parva infection.
- Amblyomma variegatum,
- Boophilus decoloratus,
- Boophilus microplus
- Hyalomma sp.