Saturday, October 12, 2013

"A Tick Up His Nose..."

The English language has many sayings such as, “Hard nosed” or “Her nose is out of joint” or “She cut off her nose to spite her face” and so on. Here’s a new one: “He’s got a tick up his nose.” Do you have one? If yes, you may be part of a very minuscule, elite group of individuals, one of whom sneezed his out during an airline layover. In this case, veterinary Epidemiologist Tony Goldberg at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, had just spent a few weeks in Uganda’s Kibale National Park studying chimpanzees and how the diseases they carry might make the jump to humans. The day after returning home, Goldberg pulled a tick out of his nose, eventually identifying his nostril-travel companion as belonging to the genus Amblyomma. However, its genetic sequence didn’t match anything in any known databases. “So it could be a known species of tick that hasn’t been genetically characterized yet or a completely new species,” Goldberg said. He reported his analysis in the latest issue of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Check out the link below for a picture of this hitch-hiking tick, which actually looks rather unattractive to my way of thinking. Oh the joys of epidemiological travel and research.

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