Ticks that vector Lyme disease move west into North Dakota

September 11, 2014

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year. Last year, most Lyme disease cases reported to the CDC were concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 96 percent of cases in 13 states. In fact, the disease gets its name from the northeastern town of Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first discovered.

However, a new article published in the Journal of Medical Entomology reports that the ticks that vector Lyme disease—Ixodes scapularis, also known as or deer ticks—are moving westward, and for the first time have been found to be established in North Dakota. Even worse, that were infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) were found as well.

Researchers sampled ticks at nine locations throughout North Dakota by trapping small mammals and then removing the attached ticks. When they found I. scapularis, they screened them for Borrelia burgdorferi and for two other types of bacteria that can lead to two other tick-borne diseases called Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis.

I. scapularis ticks were collected in six of the nine counties surveyed, and two of the counties seemed to have established poulations because all life stages—eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults—were present.

"This represents an expansion of the predicted range for this tick species and is of concern because of the ability of this tick species to transmit various disease-causing agents," the authors wrote. "I. scapularis and associated pathogens have become established in northeastern North Dakota."

Explore further: Fewer deer may mean less Lyme disease

More information: The full article is available at dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME14053

Related Stories

Fewer deer may mean less Lyme disease

July 1, 2014

Since white-tailed deer serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis)—the vector for Lyme disease—scientists have wondered whether reducing the number of deer in a given area would also ...

New tick-borne disease discovered

September 20, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Yale School of Public Health researchers in collaboration with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne bacterium that might be causing disease in the United States and elsewhere. Their findings ...

Recommended for you

Study highlights risks of sepsis

March 21, 2017

A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham analyzing three different methods for characterizing sepsis has helped to illustrate the risk of death or severe illness attributable to the condition. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.