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28 January 2021 Surveillance of Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens in Suburban Natural Habitats of Central Maryland
Matthew T. Milholland, Lars Eisen, Robyn M. Nadolny, Andrias Hojgaard, Erika T. Machtinger, Jennifer M. Mullinax, Andrew Y. Li
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Abstract

Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are increasing in the eastern United States and there is a lack of research on integrated strategies to control tick vectors. Here we present results of a study on tick-borne pathogens detected from tick vectors and rodent reservoirs from an ongoing 5-yr tick suppression study in the Lyme disease-endemic state of Maryland, where human-biting tick species, including Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae) (the primary vector of Lyme disease spirochetes), are abundant. During the 2017 tick season, we collected 207 questing ticks and 602 ticks recovered from 327 mice (Peromyscus spp. (Rodentia: Cricetidae)), together with blood and ear tissue from the mice, at seven suburban parks in Howard County. Ticks were selectively tested for the presence of the causative agents of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato [s.l.]), anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum), babesiosis (Babesia microti), ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia ewingii, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and ‘Panola Mountain’ Ehrlichia) and spotted fever group rickettsiosis (Rickettsia spp.). Peromyscus ear tissue and blood samples were tested for Bo. burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s), A. phagocytophilum, Ba. microti, and Borrelia miyamotoi. We found 13.6% (15/110) of questing I. scapularis nymphs to be Bo. burgdorferi s.l. positive and 1.8% (2/110) were A. phagocytophilum positive among all sites. Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. was found in 71.1% (54/76) of I. scapularis nymphs removed from mice and 58.8% (194/330) of captured mice. Results from study on tick abundance and pathogen infection status in questing ticks, rodent reservoirs, and ticks feeding on Peromyscus spp. will aid efficacy evaluation of the integrated tick management measures being implemented.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2021. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Matthew T. Milholland, Lars Eisen, Robyn M. Nadolny, Andrias Hojgaard, Erika T. Machtinger, Jennifer M. Mullinax, and Andrew Y. Li "Surveillance of Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens in Suburban Natural Habitats of Central Maryland," Journal of Medical Entomology 58(3), 1352-1362, (28 January 2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjaa291
Received: 29 September 2020; Accepted: 7 December 2020; Published: 28 January 2021
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KEYWORDS
blacklegged tick
Borrelia
Lyme disease
Peromyscus
tick-borne pathogen
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