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8 January 2020 Rickettsia spp. Infecting Lone Star Ticks (Amblyomma americanum) (Acari: Ixodidae) in Monmouth County, New Jersey
Andrea Egizi, Sydney Gable, Robert A. Jordan
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Abstract

Tick-borne rickettsiae are undergoing epidemiological changes in the eastern United States while human encounters with lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum L.) have increased substantially. We used real-time polymerase chain reaction assays to test for three species of spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) in 1,858 nymphal A. americanum collected from Monmouth County, New Jersey, a coastal county with endemic Lyme disease and established tick surveillance. Out of the 1,858 tested, 465 (25.0%) were infected with Rickettsia amblyommatis Karpathy, a species of undetermined pathogenicity found frequently in A. americanum, while 1/1,858 (0.05%) contained Rickettsia rickettsii Brumpt, the agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. No ticks tested positive for mildly pathogenic Rickettsia parkeri Lackman, and no ticks were co-infected with multiple Rickettsia spp. Our results indicate that A. americanum could be involved in transmission of R. rickettsii to humans in New Jersey, albeit rarely. The much higher rates of R. amblyommatis infection are consistent with hypotheses that human sera reacting to this species could contribute to reports of mild SFGR cases.

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Andrea Egizi, Sydney Gable, and Robert A. Jordan "Rickettsia spp. Infecting Lone Star Ticks (Amblyomma americanum) (Acari: Ixodidae) in Monmouth County, New Jersey," Journal of Medical Entomology 57(3), 974-978, (8 January 2020). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjz251
Received: 17 October 2019; Accepted: 8 December 2019; Published: 8 January 2020
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