Introduction of exotic tick vectors of bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and filarial parasites into the United States has accelerated in recent years, primarily because of globalization, increased frequency of travel, and a rise in legal and illegal animal trades. We herein report introduction of a live specimen of Amblyomma oblongoguttatum on a human into the United States from Central America, and we review 4 previous similar incidents. This tick species occurs widely in the neotropics, from western and southern Mexico, southwards through Central America, to the northern half of South America. It is a potential vector of bacterial agents of spotted fever group rickettsioses, raising concern that if A. oblongoguttatum ticks become established in this country, they might also be able to carry pathogens of human and veterinary concern. Given the potential for exotic ticks as vectors of numerous pathogens, proper surveillance, interception, and identification of these ticks are vital to protecting human and veterinary health. Rigorous governmental inspections of imported livestock and pet animals at ports of entry and educating human travelers and medical practitioners about the risks should be part of an overall national tick program.
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Vol. 106 • No. 5