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Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Mar;16(3):433-40. doi: 10.3201/eid1603.090911.

Blood meal analysis to identify reservoir hosts for Amblyomma americanum ticks.

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  • 1Washington University in St Louis, Missouri 63025, USA. ballan@wustl.edu

Abstract

Efforts to identify wildlife reservoirs for tick-borne pathogens are frequently limited by poor understanding of tick-host interactions and potentially transient infectivity of hosts under natural conditions. To identify reservoir hosts for lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)-associated pathogens, we used a novel technology. In field-collected ticks, we used PCR to amplify a portion of the 18S rRNA gene in remnant blood meal DNA. Reverse line blot hybridization with host-specific probes was then used to subsequently detect and identify amplified DNA. Although several other taxa of wildlife hosts contribute to tick infection rates, our results confirm that the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a reservoir host for several A. americanum-associated pathogens. Identification of host blood meal frequency and reservoir competence can help in determining human infection rates caused by these pathogens.

PMID:
20202418
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3322017
Free PMC Article
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