Tick infestations of wildlife and companion animals in Ontario, Canada, with detection of human pathogens in Ixodes scapularis ticks.

Smith KA, et al. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018.


The growing risk of transmission of tick-borne zoonotic pathogens to humans in Ontario, Canada, warrants investigations into regional tick distribution, tick burdens of local peridomestic animals, and prevalence of tick-borne pathogens. The objectives of this study were to investigate the geographic distribution and magnitude of tick infestations in opportunistically sampled mammalian wildlife and companion animals (i.e., dogs) in southern Ontario and to test these ticks for evidence of zoonotic tick-borne pathogens. Ticks collected from wildlife carcasses, live-trapped wildlife and companion animals (2015-2016), as well as wildlife diagnostic cases (2011-2013), were identified to species and life stage.

Ixodes scapularis ticks were tested by real-time PCR for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.). Amblyomma americanum ticks were tested for Ehrlichia chaffeensis. A total of 1687 ticks of six species were collected from 334 animals, including 224 raccoons (n = 1381 ticks) and 50 dogs (n = 67 ticks).

The most common tick species collected from parasitized raccoons were Ixodes texanus (n = 666 ticks) and Dermacentor variabilis (n = 600 ticks), which were removed from 58.5% (median: 2 ticks; range: 1-36) and 49.1% (median: 2 ticks; range: 1-64) of raccoons, respectively. Of I. scapularis tested, 9.3% (4/43) were positive for Bo. burgdorferi s.s. and 2.3% (1/43) for A. phagocytophilum. These results reveal that numerous tick species parasitize common, peridomestic wildlife and that at least two zoonotic, tick-borne pathogens circulate in southern Ontario. Host-tick vector-pathogen dynamics should continue to be monitored in the face of global climate change, landscape alterations and expanding human populations.



This researcher obviously hasn’t read his own countryman’s work:   Another problem with the climate change models is they overlook the fact that deer ticks were established in northwestern Ontario, southern Manitoba and were already in central Canada prior to 1970. What they predict to happen in the future has already happened in Canada. Their oversight caused a skewed rate of tick expansion and a miscalculation of northward projected movement.

“For blacklegged ticks, climate change is an apocryphal issue.” -John Scott

adj. Of questionable authorship or authenticity
adj. Erroneous; fictitious