Date of Award

Summer 8-16-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Biological Science (MBioSci)



First Advisor

Dr. Anuradha Ghosh, Biology

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew George

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara MacClaskey


Ticks are small arachnids which have the ability to acquire, maintain, and transfer pathogenic bacteria to human and animals by feeding on their blood. Diseases such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), are becoming more prevalent in populations, creating global health and economic problems.

This research aimed to determine the frequency of three species of ticks, the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), the Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), and Black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in southeast Kansas and adjacent areas. Another objective of the study was to determine the infection prevalence of bacterial pathogens among the identified ticks using molecular techniques. Ticks collected from June to August (2016 and 2017) were identified at the species level using taxonomic keys. The type of land such as woodland or pasture used by the ticks will also be analysed. In order to detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria, DNA from individuals or groups of adult ticks or nymphs was extracted and quantified. Using bacterial species-specific primers, infection prevalence was assessed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Tick populations in southeast Kansas have been surveyed to a limited extent. The current research represents interesting findings in terms of changing climatic conditions. To reduce the incidence of tick-borne illnesses in this region and to find an effective means of treatment, our data will be shared among healthcare providers.

Keywords: Southeast Kansas; Ticks; Tick-borne disease; Amblyomma; Dermacentor; Ixodes; woodland; pasture; Francisella tularensis; Rickettsia rickettsii



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