Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis are tick-borne diseases that are reported annually in Kentucky. We conducted a survey to describe infection prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis ticks collected in Kentucky. During 2007-2008, we collected 287 ticks (179 D. variabilis and 108 A. americanum) from canine, feral hog, horse, raccoon, white-tailed deer, and human hosts in six counties in Kentucky. Ticks were screened for Rickettsia spp., Borrelia spp., and Ehrlichia spp. by using polymerase chain reaction. Forty-one (14.3%) ticks (31 A. americanum and 10 D. variabilis) were polymerase chain reaction-positive for a Rickettsia spp. Fourteen (4.9%) ticks (6 A. americanum and 8 D. variabilis) were positive for E. chaffeensis, and 4 A. americanum (1.4%) were positive for E. ewingii. One (0.4%) A. americanum was positive for Borrelia lonestari. Although Rocky Mountain spotted fever is diagnosed in Kentucky, no R. rickettsii was found in ticks in this study.
Authors: Fritzen CM, Huang J, Westby K, Freye JD, Dunlap B, Yabsley MJ, Schardein M, Dunn JR, Jones TF, Moncayo AC