The growing importance of lone star ticks in a Lyme disease endemic county: Passive tick surveillance in Monmouth County, NJ, 2006 – 2016

Robert A. Jordan ,Andrea Egizi

PLOS

Published: February 12, 2019  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211778

Abstract

As human cases of tick-borne disease continue to increase, there is a heightened imperative to collect data on human-tick encounters to inform disease prevention. Passive tick surveillance programs that encourage members of the public to submit ticks they have encountered can provide a relatively low-cost means of collecting such data. We report the results of 11 years of tick submissions (2006–2016) collected in Monmouth County, New Jersey, an Atlantic coastal county long endemic for Lyme disease. A total of 8,608 ticks acquired in 22 U.S. states were submitted, 89.7% of which were acquired in Monmouth County, from 52 of the County’s 53 municipalities. Seasonal submission rates reflected known phenology of common human-biting ticks, but annual submissions of both Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis increased significantly over time while numbers of Ixodes scapularis remained static. By 2016, A. americanum had expanded northward in the county and now accounted for nearly half (48.1%) of submissions, far outpacing encounters with I. scapularis (28.2% of submissions). Across all tick species and stages the greatest number of ticks were removed from children (ages 0–9, 40.8%) and older adults (ages 50+, 23.8%) and these age groups were also more likely to submit partially or fully engorged ticks, suggesting increased risk of tick-borne disease transmission to these vulnerable age groups. Significantly more people (43.2%) reported acquiring ticks at their place of residence than in a park or natural area (17.9%). This pattern was more pronounced for residents over 60 years of age (72.7% acquired at home). Education that stresses frequent tick checks should target older age groups engaged in activity around the home. Our results strongly suggest that encounter rates with ticks other than I. scapularis are substantial and increasing and that their role in causing human illness should be carefully investigated.

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**Comment**

We’ve been told Amblyomma americium, .a.k.a Lone Star tick, only inhabits Southern states, and Dermacentor variabilis (Say), a.k.a. American dog tick or wood tick, is only found east of the Rocky Mountains, yet once again this proves the point ticks do not understand boundaries.  (Neither do birds, reptiles, deer, mice, fox, people, etc. – whom transport the ticks everywhere) 

The Lone Star tick is known to transmit Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, STARI, and is suspected of Lyme Disease and possibly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  https://tickinfo.com/lonestartick

The CDC swears up and down it doesn’t transmit Lyme, yet, every advocate I know in the South says STARI looks, smells, and feels just like Lyme.  Patients in the South are tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/31/no-lyme-in-the-south-guess-again/

For the sordid history of the Southern Lyme/STARI fiasco, read here:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/06/remembering-dr-masters-the-rebel-for-lyme-patients-who-took-on-the-cdc-single-handedly/  Excerpt:

Masters worked with Missouri entomologist, Dorothy Fier, who found borrelia in 2% of sampled lone star ticks and who supported Masters’ Missouri Lyme.  Despite publicity and validation, the CDC insisted that the EM rash was NOT diagnostic for LD for Missouri patients due to the fact that neither Ixodes dammini nor Ixodes pacificus were found there.

Masters worked with the CDC, who purposely tossed out data and manipulated the results.  Patients have been suffering ever since.

The wood tick is known to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), tularemia and can cause canine tick paralysis in dogs.  A high number of tularemia infected wood ticks have been found in Minnesota:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/18/tularemia-in-minnesotan-ticks/  Across all sites, 128 (34%) of 378 pools were RT-PCR positive for F. tularensis.

Oops, that’s not supposed to happen….