Established Populations of Rickettsia parkeri-Infected Amblyomma maculatum Ticks in New York City, New York, USA

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Objectives: We sought to determine the habitat associations and pathogen status of Amblyomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick) ticks in New York City (NYC), New York, USA, a newly expanded portion of their range.

Methods: We collected 88 ticks from two NYC parks on Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of NYC, and compared our findings with similar habitat in Brooklyn, New York during the same time period (April 30–September 1). We tested 76 for pathogens.

Results: We found adult and immature ticks in native and invasive grasses at Freshkills and Brookfield parks on Staten Island. No A. maculatum ticks were found in Brooklyn.

  • 52.6% of ticks tested were infected with Rickettsia parkeri—the etiological agent of R. parkeri rickettsiosis.

Conclusions: This high rate of R. parkeri in a dense urban center is of concern to the medical community, who should be aware of this species’ presence and the symptoms of R. parkeri rickettsiosis.

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