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Co-Feeding Transmission of the Ehrlichia muris–Like Agent to Mice (Mus musculus)

Karpathy, Sandor E., Allerdice, Michelle E.J., Sheth, Mili, Dasch, Gregory A., Levin, Michael L.
Vector borne and zoonotic diseases 2016 v.16 no.3 pp. 145-150
Dermacentor variabilis, Ehrlichia muris, Ixodes scapularis, Mus musculus, Peromyscus leucopus, animal models, blood, disease surveillance, disease transmission, disease vectors, geographical distribution, humans, larvae, mice, nymphs, pathogens, tick bites, ticks, zoonoses, Minnesota, Wisconsin
The Ehrlichia muris–like agent (EMLA) is a newly recognized human pathogen found in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Ecological investigations have implicated both the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, and the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, as playing roles in the maintenance of EMLA in nature. The work presented here shows that I. scapularis is an efficient vector of EMLA in a laboratory mouse model, but that Dermacentor variabilis, another frequent human biting tick found in EMLA endemic areas, is not. Additionally, I. scapularis larvae are able to acquire EMLA through co-feeding with infected nymphs. As EMLA only persists in mouse blood for a relatively short period of time, co-feeding transmission may play an important role in the maintenance of EMLA in ticks, and subsequently may play a role in limiting the geographic distribution of this pathogen in areas where co-feeding of larvae and nymphs is less common.