Cervids host multiple species of ixodid ticks, other ectoparasites, and a variety of rickettsiae. However, diagnostic test cross-reactivity has precluded understanding the specific role of deer in rickettsial ecology. In our survey of 128 Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus (Richardson)) and their arthropod parasites from two northern Californian herds, combined with reports from the literature, we identified four distinct Anaplasma spp. and one Ehrlichia species. Two keds, Lipoptena depressa (Say) and Neolipoptena ferrisi Bequaert, and two ixodid ticks, Ixodes pacificus Cooley and Kohls and Dermacentor occidentalis Marx, were removed from deer. One D. occidentalis was PCR-positive for E. chaffeensis; because it was also PCR-positive for Anaplasma sp., this is an Anaplasma/Ehrlichia co-infection prevalence of 4.3%. 29% of L. depressa, 23% of D. occidentalis, and 14% of deer were PCR-positive for Anaplasma spp. DNA sequencing confirmed A. bovis and A. ovis infections in D. occidentalis, A. odocoilei in deer and keds, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum strain WI-1 in keds and deer. This is the first report of Anaplasma spp. in a North America deer ked, and begs the question whether L. depressa may be a competent vector of Anaplasma spp. or merely acquire such bacteria while feeding on rickettsemic deer.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1