Seasonal Rise of Tick-Borne Diseases in Oklahoma
The Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (McClung, K.L., et al.) 11.01.2023, published “Seasonality of Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) Activity and Prevalence of Infection with Tick-Borne Disease Agents in North Central Oklahoma.” This article discusses a study focused on Amblyomma americanum, a common tick in the southern US, and its transmission of diseases to humans and animals. Understanding the tick’s activity in Oklahoma and exploring the seasonal presence of tick-borne infectious organisms were goals.
Over a two-year period, the study collected ticks monthly. A. americanum adults were found to be active a month earlier than historically observed in the region. Several infectious agents were found in these ticks, including Rickettsia spp., Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, and Borrelia lonestari, with varying prevalence rates. No clear seasonal trend in the prevalence of spotted fever group Rickettsia spp. infections was found.
The findings suggested a shift in the activity times of A. americanum adults, particularly males being active earlier in the year than females and highlighted year-round presence of infectious agents they carried–especially during winter months when males remain active. Results emphasize the need for continuous monitoring of tick activity and infections due to the significant health implications for both humans and animals in the southern US.
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