Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Publication

Risk of encountering ticks and tick-borne pathogens in a rapidly growing metropolitan area in the U.S. Great Plains

Noden, Bruce H.
Loss, Scott R.
Maichak, Courtney
Williams, Faithful
Abstract
The prevalence of tick-borne diseases has increased dramatically in many urban areas of the U.S., yet little is known about the ecology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in relation to characteristics of North American urban and suburban landscapes. This study aimed to begin identification of the risk of encountering ticks and tick-borne pathogens within a rapidly expanding metropolitan area in the U.S. Great Plains region. Ten sites across Oklahoma City, Oklahoma were selected for tick sampling based on presence of tick habitat and level of urbanization intensity. Sampling was conducted using CO2 traps and flagging in June, July and October 2015. A total of 552 ticks were collected from eight of the ten sampled greenspaces. The majority of ticks collected in summer were Amblyomma americanum (N =�534 (97.8%)), followed by Dermacentor variabilis (N =�10 (1.8%)) and Amblyomma maculatum (N =�2 (0.3%)). Ixodes scapularis adult females (N =�4) and nymphal A. americanum (N =�2) were also collected in October 2015. Tick species diversity was highest in sites with >15% of the surrounding landscape composed of undeveloped land. Rickettsia sp. (including R. amblyommii and 'Candidatus R. andeanae'), Ehrlichia chaffeensis and/or E. ewingii were detected in tick pools from all eight sites where ticks were found. Our data suggest that the risk of encountering ticks and tick-borne pathogens exists throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and that tick populations are likely influenced by urbanization intensity. Continued research is needed to clarify the full range of abiotic and biotic features of urban landscapes that influence the risk of encountering ticks and transmitting tick-borne diseases.
Date
2016-10-14