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Infection Prevalences of Common Tick-borne Pathogens in Adult Lone Star Ticks (Amblyomma americanum) and American Dog Ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) in Kentucky

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  • Tennessee Department of Health, Vector-Borne Diseases Section, Communicable and Environmental Diseases, Nashville, Tennessee; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, Madison, Tennessee; Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia; Kentucky Department for Public Health, Frankfort, Kentucky

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis are tick-borne diseases that are reported annually in Kentucky. We conducted a survey to describe infection prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis ticks collected in Kentucky. During 2007–2008, we collected 287 ticks (179 D. variabilis and 108 A. americanum) from canine, feral hog, horse, raccoon, white-tailed deer, and human hosts in six counties in Kentucky. Ticks were screened for Rickettsia spp., Borrelia spp., and Ehrlichia spp. by using polymerase chain reaction. Forty-one (14.3%) ticks (31 A. americanum and 10 D. variabilis) were polymerase chain reaction–positive for a Rickettsia spp. Fourteen (4.9%) ticks (6 A. americanum and 8 D. variabilis) were positive for E. chaffeensis, and 4 A. americanum (1.4%) were positive for E. ewingii. One (0.4%) A. americanum was positive for Borrelia lonestari. Although Rocky Mountain spotted fever is diagnosed in Kentucky, no R. rickettsii was found in ticks in this study.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Abelardo C. Moncayo, Tennessee Department of Health, Vector-Borne Diseases Section, Communicable and Environmental Diseases, Nashville, TN 37216. E-mail: abelardo.moncayo@tn.gov

Authors' addresses: Charissa M. Fritzen, Junjun Huang, Kathleen Westby, John R. Dunn, Timothy F. Jones, and Abelardo C. Moncayo, Tennessee Department of Health, Vector-Borne Diseases Section, Communicable and Environmental Diseases, Nashville, TN, E-mails: cmn37@cornell.edu, Junjun.Huang@tn.gov, kmwest2@ilstu.edu, John.Dunn@tn.gov, Tim.F.Jones@tn.gov, and Abelardo.Moncayo@tn.gov. James D. Freye and Brett Dunlap, United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, Madison, TN, E-mails: James.D.Freye@aphis.usda.gov and Brett.G.Dunlap@aphis.usda.gov. Michael J. Yabsley, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, E-mail: myabsley@uga.edu. Mike Schardein, Kentucky Department for Public Health, Frankfort, KY, E-mail: Mike.Schardein@ky.gov.

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