One hundred ten white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) were captured on horse farms in south-central Maryland, examined for ticks, and tested for specific antibodies to Ehrlichia risticii, the causative agent of Potomac horse fever. Peromyscus leucopus were consistently infested with immature American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis), with monthly prevalences as high as 80%. Sera from all 97 P. leucopus tested for antibodies to E. risticii were negative. This indicates that P. leucopus is not a reservoir of E. risticii, and suggests that immature D. variabilis do not acquire E. risticii in feeding upon white-footed mice.
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Vol. 25 • No. 3