How sensitive and specific is the visual diagnosis of sarcoptic mange in free-ranging Iberian ibexes?

Marta Valldeperes, José Enrique Granados, Jesús María Pérez, Inmaculada Castro, Arián Ráez-Bravo, Paulino Fandos, Jorge Ramón López-Olvera, Emmanuel Serrano, Gregorio Mentaberre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Sarcoptic mange is a broadly distributed parasitic disease caused by Sarcoptes scabiei that affects wild mammals from all over the world, including the Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica). Selective culling of the scabietic individuals is the main management measure for disease control in Iberian ibex populations. Although visual identification of mange-compatible lesions is the reference method to decide the target individual, both false negative and positive cases are common in the wild. The aim of this work is to determine the sensitivity (SE), and the specificity (SP) of selective culling after evaluating 403 ibexes hunted in the Sierra Nevada Nature Space for sarcoptic mange control between 2002 and 2015. Methods: A combination of skin scrapings and potassium hidroxide (KOH) skin digestion was used for sarcoptic mange diagnosis. Generalized linear models (GLM) were used to assess the effects of sex, age (juveniles and adults) and period of the year (wet and dry periods) on the SE and SP of the visual diagnosis method. Results: The SE obtained for the visual determination of scabietic ibexes was 87.14%, whereas the SP was 60.71%. According to our model selection, SE of the visual diagnosis was explained by the additive effects of age and the period of the year. In fact, SE was lower in juveniles (64.76%) than in adults (94.26%) and during the dry period (73.44%) as compared to the wet period (92.09%). On the other hand, SP was best explained by the GLM including the additive effects of sex and the period of the year. The visual diagnosis of sarcoptic mange resulted less specific in females (22.73%) than in males (74.19%) and during the wet (55.22%) than in the dry period (82.35%). Conclusions: Maximizing SE and SP is essential to achieving a high rate of removal of affected individuals from the environment without eliminating potentially resistant individuals. Selective culling must be conservative during the wet period and with females due to the lower SP. Conversely, visual diagnosis of scabietic juveniles and during the dry period has to be improved, due to the lower SE.
Original languageEnglish
Article number405
JournalParasites and Vectors
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


  • Capra pyrenaica
  • Sarcoptes scabiei
  • Selective culling
  • Visual diagnostic
  • Wildlife disease management


Dive into the research topics of 'How sensitive and specific is the visual diagnosis of sarcoptic mange in free-ranging Iberian ibexes?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this