Detection of Rickettsia, Borrelia, and Bartonella in Carios kelleyi (Acari: Argasidae)

Amanda D. LoftisA, D, James S. GillB, D, Martin E. SchrieferC, D, Michael L. LevinD, Marina E. EremeevaD, M. J. R GilchristB, D, Gregory A. DaschD

A. E-mail: aloftis@cdc.gov, B. University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, Iowa City, IA 52242, C. Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80522, D. Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333

Carios kelleyi (Colley & Kohls 1941), a tick associated with bats and bat habitats, has been reported to feed on humans, but there is little published data regarding the presence of vector-borne pathogens in these ticks. C. kelleyi nymphs and adults were collected from residential and community buildings in Jackson County, Iowa, and tested by polymerase chain reaction for Rickettsia, Borrelia, Bartonella, Coxiella, and Anaplasma.

Rickettsia DNA was detected in 28 of 31 live ticks [canlyme edit 90%]. Sequences of the 17-kDa and rOmpA genes suggest that this agent is a novel spotted fever group Rickettsia. Transstadial and transovarial transmission of this Rickettsia were demonstrated. The flagellin gene of a Borrelia, closely related to B. turicatae, was detected in one of 31 live ticks [canlyme edit 3%]. The 16S-23S intergenic spacer region of Bartonella henselae also was detected in one of 31 live ticks [canlyme edit 3%]. Coxiella or A. phagocytophilum DNA were not detected in these ticks.

Key Words: Carios kelleyi, argasid, Rickettsia, Bartonella, Borrelia

Received: November 19, 2004; Accepted: February 10, 2005

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