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15 March 2022 Seasonality of Ticks and Prevalence of Rickettsiae Species in Dermacentor variabilis and Amblyomma maculatum Across Oklahoma Pastures
Bruce H. Noden, Trisha R. Dubie, Brandon E. Henriquez, Meghan Gilliland, Justin L. Talley
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Abstract

Tick-borne diseases are an increasing concern for people and companion animals in the United States, but there is a need for continued vigilance regarding livestock in pasture systems. The south-central United States has some of the highest incidences of tick-borne diseases, and there is a need to re-examine the ecology of tick vectors in relation to pasture systems and livestock. The objective of this study was to establish a baseline of seasonal activity for tick species in diverse regional Oklahoma pastures and screen for important pathogens in Dermacentor variabilis (Say) and Amblyomma maculatum Koch group that may impact livestock and human health. Between 2015 and 2017, transects in five pastures across Oklahoma were visited each month. DNA extracted from adult D. variabilis and A. maculatum group was tested for the presence of bacterial pathogens. We found that tick communities in pastures across Oklahoma differ by season, abundance, and bacterial presence and prevalence. The peak abundance of Amblyomma americanum (L.) adults and nymphs occurred a month earlier over the 2 yr of the study compared with historical studies in the same regions. Additionally, we observed notable differences in peak activity between A. americanum adults and nymphs collected in pastures in central Oklahoma (April) versus pastures in northern part of the state (May). We detected Rickettsia parkeri, R. bellii, and Anaplasma sp. DNA in D. variabilis from pastures across the state. These results potentially have important ramifications for human and livestock risk of encountering infected ticks in pastures across the southern Great Plains.

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Bruce H. Noden, Trisha R. Dubie, Brandon E. Henriquez, Meghan Gilliland, and Justin L. Talley "Seasonality of Ticks and Prevalence of Rickettsiae Species in Dermacentor variabilis and Amblyomma maculatum Across Oklahoma Pastures," Journal of Medical Entomology 59(3), 1033-1041, (15 March 2022). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjac028
Received: 15 December 2021; Accepted: 4 February 2022; Published: 15 March 2022
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KEYWORDS
Anaplasma
livestock
Oklahoma
Rickettsia
tick-borne pathogens
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