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Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018 Feb;9(2):340-348. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2017.11.010. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Evaluating acarological risk for exposure to Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes scapularis-borne pathogens in recreational and residential settings in Washington County, Minnesota.

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Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3156 Rampart Road, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA.
Minnesota Department of Health, 625 Robert St N, St. Paul, MN 55164, USA.
Washington County Health Department, 14949 62nd St, Stillwater, MN 55082, USA.
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3156 Rampart Road, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA. Electronic address:


The distribution of I. scapularis, the tick vector of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, has been expanding over the last two decades in the north-central United States in parallel with increasing incidence of human cases of Lyme disease in that region. However, assessments of residential risk for exposure to ticks are lacking from this region. Here, we measured the density of host-seeking I. scapularis nymphs in two suburban and two rural public recreational sites located in Washington County, Minnesota as well as in nearby residential properties. We sought to compare tick densities across land use types and to identify environmental factors that might impact nymphal density. We also assessed the prevalence of infection in the collected ticks with Lyme disease spirochetes (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. mayonii), and other I. scapularis-borne pathogens including B. miyamotoi, Babesia microti and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Similar to studies from the eastern United States, on residential properties, I. scapularis nymphal densities were highest in the ecotonal areas between the forest edge and the lawn. Residences with the highest densities of nymphs were more likely to have a higher percentage of forest cover, log piles, and signs of deer on their property. In recreational areas, we found the highest nymphal densities both in the wooded areas next to trails as well as on mowed trails. Among the 303 host-seeking I. scapularis nymphs tested for pathogens, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, A. phagocytophilum and B. miyamotoi were detected in 42 (13.8%), 14 (4.6%), and 2 (0.6%) nymphs, respectively.


Acarological risk; Habitat; Ixodes scapularis; Landscape; Lyme disease

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