The Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum, is of public and veterinary health concern, as it is the primary vector of Rickettsia parkeri and Hepatozoon americanum, causative agents of Rickettsiosis and American canine hepatozoonosis. The Gulf Coast tick's range has expanded over the last 50 yr into the mid-Atlantic states, and its expansion is expected to continue northward. We are reporting the presence of A. maculatum for the first time in Illinois, including a total of 18 specimens collected at 6 different sites during surveys in 2013 and 2019. Fourteen of these specimens were screened for Rickettsia parkeri, which resulted in the detection of this bacteria in 8 samples from 4 counties. By depositing these specimens in scientific collections, we provide materialistic evidence of their establishment in 2 counties. We urge health officials to rely on and use scientific collections to document the expansion of these and other vectors across the country. Additionally, we recommend that health practitioners become aware of the clinical similarities between Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (caused by Rickettsia rickettsii) and “tidewater” fever (caused by R. parkeri).
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Vol. 106 • No. 1