PA Ticks: PCR Positive for 5 Tick-Borne Pathogens & Co-infections

Deer Tick Questing
Deer Tick Questing
Photo Credit: James Occi, PhD

In the Journal of Medical Entomology, Sarah Schwartz et al. published “Tick-Borne Pathogens in Questing Blacklegged Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) From Pike County, Pennsylvania” on August 3, 2022.  Questing ticks were collected through a 2-yr survey in Pike County, representing one of the largest county-wide studies in Pennsylvania.  Over a thousand black-legged and American dog ticks were collected, along with a single lone star, rabbit, and an Asian longhorned tick.

Five tick-borne pathogens were screened through real-time PCR, and the following results were found (2-yr adult, nymph): 

  • Borrelia burgdorferi  (45.99%, 18.94%)
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum (12.29%, 7.95%)
  • Babesia microti (4.97%, 5.30%)
  • Borrelia miyamotoi (1.38%, 1.89%)
  • Powassan virus lineage II/deer tick virus (2.07%, 0.76%)

Co-infection rates with adults and nymphs were higher than expected. 

According to the authors, “This study highlights the urgency to conduct diverse surveillance studies with large sample sizes to better understand the human risk for tick-borne diseases within small geographical areas.”

Note:  This work was funded in part by a grant from the Lyme Disease Association.

For More Information

Read full Journal Article

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