Amblyomma marmoreum and A. sparsum ticks were collected from tortoises imported into Florida from Africa and were tested for Cowdria ruminantium infection using a C. ruminantium-specific pCS20 polymerase chain reaction assay. In 1 shipment imported from Zambia, 15 of the 38 A. sparsum male ticks collected from the leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) were found to be positive for infection with C. ruminantium. In contrast, all 148 A. marmoreum tested were negative for C. ruminantium infection. This is the first reported evidence of the introduction of heartwater-infected ticks into the United States, but there were no opportunities to confirm isolation of C. ruminantium from the ticks by either culture or transmission studies.
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