RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Relatively low prevalence of Babesia microti and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Ixodes scapularis ticks collected in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania.

Several human pathogens are transmitted by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. These include the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) which is endemic to the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. Emerging and currently rare tick-borne diseases have been of increasing concern in this region, including tick-borne relapsing fever (caused by Borrelia miyamotoi), human granulocytic anaplasmosis (caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum), and human babesiosis (caused by Babesia microti). Real-time PCR assays and in some instances, conventional PCR followed by DNA sequencing, were used to screen 423 DNA samples that were prepared from questing adult and nymph stage I. scapularis ticks for infection with four tick-borne human pathogens. B. burgdorferi was detected in 23.2% of the sampled ticks, while B. miyamotoi, B. microti and a human variant of A. phagocytophilum were detected in less than 0.5% of the ticks. Our results are consistent with those expected in a region where Lyme disease is prevalent and human cases of tick-borne relapsing fever, babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis are not currently widespread. It is expected that this study will serve as a baseline for future studies of tick-borne pathogens in an area that is in close proximity to regions of high endemicity for Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis and human babesiosis.

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