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J Med Entomol. 2015 Mar;52(2):230-52. doi: 10.1093/jme/tju022. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

The Evolving Medical and Veterinary Importance of the Gulf Coast tick (Acari: Ixodidae).

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Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Building 17, Room 3224, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333.
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University, Box 9775, 100 Old Hwy 12 (Clay Lyle Building), Starkville, MS 39762.


Amblyomma maculatum Koch (the Gulf Coast tick) is a three-host, ixodid tick that is distributed throughout much of the southeastern and south-central United States, as well as several countries throughout Central and South America. A considerable amount of scientific literature followed the original description of A. maculatum in 1844; nonetheless, the Gulf Coast tick was not recognized as a vector of any known pathogen of animals or humans for >150 years. It is now identified as the principal vector of Hepatozoon americanum, the agent responsible for American canine hepatozoonosis, and Rickettsia parkeri, the cause of an emerging, eschar-associated spotted fever group rickettsiosis identified throughout much of the Western Hemisphere. Coincident with these discoveries has been recognition that the geographical distribution of A. maculatum in the United States is far more extensive than described 70 yr ago, supporting the idea that range and abundance of certain tick species, particularly those with diverse host preferences, are not fixed in time or space, and may change over relatively short intervals. Renewed interest in the Gulf Coast tick reinforces the notion that the perceived importance of a particular tick species to human or animal health can be relatively fluid, and may shift dramatically with changes in the distribution and abundance of the arthropod, its vertebrate hosts, or the microbial agents that transit among these organisms.


Amblyomma maculatum; Gulf Coast tick; Hepatozoon americanum; Rickettsia parkeri

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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