An Ehrlichia muris-like (EML) bacterium was recently detected in humans and Ixodes scapularis ticks in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The reservoir for this agent is unknown. To investigate the occurrence of the EML agent, groEL PCR testing and sequencing was performed on blood from small mammals and white-tailed deer that were collected in areas where human and tick infections were previously demonstrated. DNA of the EML agent was detected in two Peromyscus leucopus of 146 small mammals (1.4%); while 181 O. virginianus tested negative. This report provides the first evidence that DNA from the EML agent is found in P. leucopus, the same animal that is a reservoir for Anaplasma phagocytophilum in this region. The role of white-tailed deer remains inconclusive. Further sampling is warranted to understand the spatial and temporal distribution, transmission and maintenance of this pathogen.
Keywords: Ehrlichia muris; Ehrlichia muris-like (EML) agent; Ehrlichiosis; Peromyscus.
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