JOURNAL ARTICLE

Wild birds and urban ecology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2005-2010

Sarah A Hamer, Tony L Goldberg, Uriel D Kitron, Jeffrey D Brawn, Tavis K Anderson, Scott R Loss, Edward D Walker, Gabriel L Hamer
Emerging Infectious Diseases 2012, 18 (10): 1589-95
23017244
Bird-facilitated introduction of ticks and associated pathogens is postulated to promote invasion of tick-borne zoonotic diseases into urban areas. Results of a longitudinal study conducted in suburban Chicago, Illinois, USA, during 2005-2010 show that 1.6% of 6,180 wild birds captured in mist nets harbored ticks. Tick species in order of abundance were Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, Ixodes dentatus, and I. scapularis, but 2 neotropical tick species of the genus Amblyomma were sampled during the spring migration. I. scapularis ticks were absent at the beginning of the study but constituted the majority of ticks by study end and were found predominantly on birds captured in areas designated as urban green spaces. Of 120 ticks, 5 were infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, spanning 3 ribotypes, but none were infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Results allow inferences about propagule pressure for introduction of tick-borne diseases and emphasize the large sample sizes required to estimate this pressure.

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