Anaplasmosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by infection with the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In the eastern United States, A. phagocytophilum is transmitted to hosts through the bite of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. We determined the realized reservoir competence of 14 species of common vertebrate hosts for ticks by establishing the probability that each species transmits two important strains of A. phagocytophilum (A. phagocytophilum human-Active, which causes human cases, and A. phagocytophilum variant 1, which does not) to feeding larval ticks. We also sampled questing nymphal ticks from ∼150 sites in a single county over 2 years and sampled over 6 years at one location. White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) were the most competent reservoirs for infection with the A. phagocytophilum human-Active strain. Across the county, prevalence in ticks for both strains together was 8.3%; ticks were more than two times as likely to be infected with A. phagocytophilum human-Active as A. phagocytophilum variant 1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases