Resistance to Tick-Borne Francisella Tularensis by Tick-Sensitized Rabbits: Allergic Klendusity

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  • U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratory, Hamilton, Montana 59840

Mammals become hypersensitive to ticks that feed upon them. That hypersensitivity was thought responsible for an observation that a large number of Francisella tularensis-infected Dermacentor variabilis failed to infect a rabbit previously exposed to ticks of that species. In a series of tests of that hypothesis, rabbits sensitized to ticks were often significantly more resistant than control animals to tick-borne tularemia. The conditions that determine the klendusity are thought to be variable and complex but the phenomenon must be of importance in the epidemiology of some arthropod-borne agents.