Comparative Vector Competence ofDermacentor variabilisandIxodes scapularis(Acari: Ixodidae) for the Agent of Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis
Journal of medical entomology
Vector competence of Ixodes scapularis Say and Dermacentor variabilis Say for the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) was compared. Five white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus RaÞnesque, were inoculated intra-peritoneally with blood from a mouse infected with the agent of HGE. Approximately 100 I. scapularis and D. variabilis larvae were placed on each mouse and allowed to feed to repletion. Fed larvae were collected, separated according to species and allowed to molt to nymphs.
... y-six per cent of I. scapularis (34/131) and 11% of D. variabilis (11/96) tested positive for the agent of HGE by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) after molting to nymphs. Positive I. scapularis nymphs transmitted the agent of HGE to P. leucopus mice in 5 of 5 trials. In contrast, the positive D. variabilis nymphs did not transmit the agent of HGE in any of 6 trials. In a 2nd experiment, 3 P. leucopus mice were infested with I. scapularis nymphs that were infected with the agent of HGE. All 3 mice became infected with the agent of HGE and Ϸ300 D. variabilis larvae were placed on each mouse and allowed to feed to repletion. Larvae were collected and allowed to molt to nymphs as before. Approximately 8% (5/60) of the nymphs became positive for the agent of HGE as determined by PCR. Twenty-Þve of these nymphs were then placed on each of 9 P. leucopus mice and allowed to feed to repletion. Evidence of transmission was not observed in any of 9 mice exposed to D. variabilis nymphs. These results demonstrate that although I. scapularis is a competent vector of the agent of the HGE, D. variabilis is not.