Healthcare 2020, 8(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8010059
Monitoring of Nesting Songbirds Detects Established Population of Blacklegged Ticks and Associated Lyme Disease Endemic Area in Canada
4.4. H. leporispalustris Vector CompetencyIn this study, we did not identify Bbsl in H. leporispalustris ticks. However, Banerjee et al. detected Lyme disease spirochetes in H. leporispalustris ticks collected from a snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus, in northern Alberta . As well, Scott et al. discovered Borrelia lanei-like spirochetes and a Babesia divergens-like piroplasm concurrently in a H. leporispalustris (female) collected from an eastern cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus, in southern Manitoba . Scott & Durden provide the first record of a Bbsl-positive H. leporispalustris (nymph) collected from an avian host (Swainson’s Thrush) in Canada . Previously, Scott et al. found Bbsl in a H. leporispalustris larva parasitizing a passerine (Canada Warbler) in Québec suggesting that this tick species is a reservoir-competent host . During southbound, fall migration in Canada, larval and nymphal H. leporispalustris frequently parasitize passerines, and are widely dispersed in southern regions.
4.5. Ticks Co-infest SongbirdsOne Veery was co-infested with H. leporispalustris (one nymph and one larva), and I. scapularis (two nymphs). Not only is there a breeding colony of I. scapularis present in this Laurentian River basin, an established population of H. leporispalustris is also there. Since these ixodid ticks were collected during the nesting and fledgling period, this bird parasitism denotes a cohabitation of two tick species in this sylvan locale, and signifies that these two tick species are sympatric. The Veery has trans-border and trans-equatorial migration during its northward spring flight, and has a breeding range in southern Canada, including southwestern Québec and northern United States; the wintering range is in central and southeastern Brazil (Figure 4). During the breeding, nesting, and fledgling period, Veeries have localized activity in juxtaposition to the stationary nest. When the young have fledged the nest, these passerines replenish their fat reserves, and prepare for the southbound trek to wintering ranges in southern latitudes during August and September. In late July, they typically moult in preparation for the southbound marathon flight.
- Lyme disease spirochetes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7620455
- strains of Rickettsia rickettsia (causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever)
- Coxiella burnetii (causes Q-fever)
- Francisella tularensis (causes Tularemia)
- Anaplasma bovis (causes Anaplasma and yes, also in humans despite the bovis name. Please note this wasn’t discovered until 2014): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478432/
The two studies used as references in the wikipedia article state the following about the rabbit tick. While Lyme (borrelia) isn’t mentioned (but should be), Rickettsia is:
Our results support a possible role of H. leporispalustris in the enzootic maintenance of R. rickettsii in Latin America, as previously suggested by earlier works. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10493-008-9220-4
We have been able to isolate 2 strains of rickettsiae from the rabbit tick Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, indistinguishable from R. rickettsii isolated from humans in our country (Costa Rica). http://www.ajtmh.org/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.1985.34.564
Regarding borrelia (Lyme) in the rabbit tick please note that in 4.4 above, Scott et al. found Bbsl in a H. leporispalustris larva parasitizing a Warbler suggesting that this tick species is a reservoir-competent host. In essence, the rabbit tick clearly has borrelia strains within it. And further, during southbound, fall migration in Canada, larval and nymphal H. leporispalustris frequently parasitize passerines, and are widely dispersed in southern regions. In essence, ticks with borrelia are infecting birds that are then going South and spreading their pathogens there.