Prevalence of Tick-Borne Pathogens in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and Black-Legged Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis) Collected in Central Missouri.
Vincent, Geoffrey P.
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Ticks (Arachnida: Acarina) are vectors of many human disease-causing pathogens. In this study we focus on the prevalence of three pathogens, Rickettsia rickettsii, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Ehrlichia spp. that are responsible for Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis respectively. Ticks and blood samples were collected from deer harvested during fall firearms season in Missouri counties in 2010 and 2011. PCR analysis was performed using known primers and visualized via agarose gel electrophoresis to determine prevalence of the three pathogens. Prevalence of B. burgdorferi found in deer and Ixodes scapularis Say is 3.1% (n = 97) and 0.0% (n = 32) respectively for 2010 and 3.4% (n = 59) and 4.6% (n = 44) respectively for 2011. Prevalence of R. rickettsia found in deer and I. scapularis is 20.6% (n = 97) and 12.5% (n = 32) respectively for 2010 and 15.3% (n = 59) and 6.8% (n = 44) respectively for 2011. No samples tested positive for Ehrlichia spp.