Geographical distribution and prevalence of selected Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia infections in Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) in New Jersey

J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2011 Sep;27(3):236-44. doi: 10.2987/11-6111.1.


We used published accounts to describe the known statewide distribution of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, in New Jersey and field surveys to characterize the geographical range of A. americanum and selected A. americanum-transmitted pathogens in Monmouth County, the hypothesized northern limit of the species distribution. Ticks were collected using standardized methods from 50 widely dispersed public access areas within 18 municipalities to produce estimates of relative abundance among sites. Collected A. americanum adults were stored at -80 degrees C until processed for DNA extraction. Individual ticks were subjected to polymerase chain reaction analyses to detect the presence of Ehrlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii, Rickettsia amblyommii, and Borrelia lonestari. The range of A. americanum was generally limited to the southern half of New Jersey. Within Monmouth County, we collected A. americanum from 9 of 18 municipalities (50%) and 24 (48%) of the surveyed properties. We found at least 1 pathogen at 17 (70.8%) sites located within 6 of 9 municipalities, while all 4 target pathogens were detected in 5 of those 6 (83.3%) municipalities. The geographical distribution of A. americanum and its associated pathogens appeared to be restricted to the southern portion of the county. Possible factors governing the distribution are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Borrelia / isolation & purification*
  • Borrelia Infections / epidemiology
  • Borrelia Infections / transmission
  • Ehrlichia / isolation & purification*
  • Ehrlichiosis / epidemiology
  • Ehrlichiosis / transmission
  • Geography
  • Ixodidae / microbiology*
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Population Density
  • Prevalence
  • Rickettsia / isolation & purification*
  • Rickettsia Infections / epidemiology
  • Rickettsia Infections / transmission