A quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay to detect and quantify a portion of the outer membrane protein B gene (ompB) of Rickettsia amblyommii was employed to assess the threat of R. amblyommii exposure to humans parasitized by Amblyomma americanum (the lone star tick). A total of 72 pools of lone star ticks removed from humans were acquired from two collections and used in this study: 44 pools of A. americanum submitted to the Department of Defense Human Tick Test Kit Program in 2003 collected from 220 individuals from 14 states, and 28 pools of A. americanum representing 120 ticks obtained from boy scouts and adult leaders at the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, in 2005. Of the 72 lone star tick pools representing 340 lone star ticks, 58 pools (80.5%) were positive for R. amblyommii. In addition, individual A. americanum ticks parasitizing humans collected as part of the Department of Defense Human Tick Test Kit Program in 2002 and 2003 from 17 states were evaluated. It was found that 244 of 367 (66.5%) individual A. americanum ticks tested positive for the presence of R. amblyommii DNA. These results clearly show that lone star ticks parasitizing humans are highly infected with R. amblyommii, which may potentiate rickettsial infection of and possibly disease in humans.
Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)