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10 May 2023 Lone star ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infected with Bourbon virus in New Jersey, USA
Andrea Egizi, Nicole E. Wagner, Robert A. Jordan, Dana C. Price
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Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum L.) are expanding within the northeast United States, a region historically focused on Ixodes scapularis-transmitted diseases. In Monmouth County, NJ, the shift has been dramatic, and lone star ticks now vastly outnumber blacklegged ticks. As a result, there is an enhanced need to focus on the potential health risks of A. americanum-transmitted pathogens, such as the emerging Heartland (HRTV) and Bourbon (BRBV) viruses. We screened 1,205 nymphal lone star ticks for HRTV and BRBV using RT-qPCR assays and detected BRBV in 3 ticks collected in Monmouth County, NJ, in 2021. Additionally, we sequenced a complete BRBV genome from a single infected specimen, finding 99.4% identity with human pathogenic isolates from the eastern-central United States. Our results have important public health implications for a region only recently becoming aware of public health risks posed by lone star ticks. Of note, we report successful detection of viral RNA in samples that were stored and intended for DNA preservation, for example, kept in ethanol at room temperature, which may reduce barriers for public health agencies seeking to expand their tick testing to include viruses.

Andrea Egizi, Nicole E. Wagner, Robert A. Jordan, and Dana C. Price "Lone star ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infected with Bourbon virus in New Jersey, USA," Journal of Medical Entomology 60(4), 842-846, (10 May 2023).
Received: 3 February 2023; Accepted: 20 April 2023; Published: 10 May 2023

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Public Health Entomology
vector-borne pathogens
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