Prevalence of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in mined land areas of southeast Kansas

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Publication Date

Spring 2021


Ticks serve as vectors for many disease-causing pathogens, particularly bacterial and rickettsial pathogens. Diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tularemia can result after bitten by ticks. These tick-borne diseases are more common in the Great Plains region than is recognized. The present study aimed to conduct a three-year long surveillance on various tick species in the mined land area in Cherokee County (KS) using dry ice bait as well as flag-drag technique. Over eight visits (June 2020 - January 2021) to the collection site, ticks were collected using both trapping methods. Detailed environmental data was also collected during each visit on-site. The collected ticks were brought to the lab in vials kept in ice-cooler and differentiated by species, sex, and life stage in the laboratory using a dissectoscope. A total of 103 adults and nymphs as well as 112 larvae were collected from both woodland and grassland areas. The majority of which were identified as Amblyomma americanum (91.3%; Males-12, Females-4, Nymphs-78) followed by Dermacentor variabilis (8.7%; Males-2, Females-7). Pathogen testing on these ticks will be carried out by our collaborator at Oklahoma State University. This long-term ecological study will help better understand the variations in tick-pathogen prevalence influenced by various environmental parameters and thus appropriate management programs can be implemented to reduce the risk for human/animal diseases.


Category A - Award recipient

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