Tick Abstracts Virginia

Tick Abstracts Virginia

Oops! Seems Spotted Fevers can be detected in several tick species, now that Hopkins

actually LOOKED before reporting otherwise. Another good reason to Treat The Bite!

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2014 Jul;14(7):482-5. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2013.1534. Epub 2014

Jun 30.

Spotted fever group rickettsiae in multiple hard tick species from Fairfax

County, Virginia.

Henning TC1, Orr JM, Smith JD, Arias JR, Norris DE.

Author information

  • 11 The W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology,
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore, Maryland.


Spotted fever group rickettsiosis (SFGR) is a potentially fatal disease that has displayed

increasing incidence in the United States in recent years. The most well-known and severe

type of this disease is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but there are other mild forms that occur.

Recently, human infection with Rickettsia parkeri has been reported and linked with the tick

Amblyomma maculatum. In 2010, a population of R. parkeri-infected A. maculatum was

discovered in Fairfax County, Virginia, leading to increased surveillance of tick species.

In this study, we report the presence of R. parkeri in Rhipicephalus sanguineus,

Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, and Dermacentor variabilis in Fairfax County.

R. parkeri was discovered in two Rh. sanguineus, one H. leporispalustris, and 17 D.


These findings suggest that spillover infections of R. parkeri may be occurring in tick

species not typically associated with this pathogen; however, vector competence

studies need to be conducted to determine if these tick species can serve as potential

vectors for human SFGR.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2013 Nov 4. pii: S1877-959X(13)00088-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2013.09.001. [Epub ahead of print]

Ticks and spotted fever group rickettsiae of southeastern Virginia.

Nadolny RM, Wright CL, Sonenshine DE, Hynes WL, Gaff HD.


Old Dominion University, Department of Biological Sciences, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA.


The incidence of tick-borne rickettsial disease in the southeastern United States has been rising steadily through the past decade, and the range expansions of tick species and tick-borne infectious agents, new and old, has resulted in an unprecedented mix of vectors and pathogens. The results of an ongoing 4-year surveillance project describe the relative abundance of questing tick populations in southeastern Virginia.

Since 2009, more than 66,000 questing ticks of 7 species have been collected from vegetation in a variety of habitats, with Amblyomma americanum constituting over 95% of ticks collected. Other species represented included Ixodes scapularis, Dermacentor variabilis, Amblyomma maculatum, Ixodes affinis, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, and Ixodes brunneus. We found that 26.9-54.9% of A. americanum ticks tested were positive for Rickettsia amblyommii, a non-pathogenic symbiont of this tick species. We also found no evidence of R. rickettsii in D. variabilis ticks, although they did show low infection rates of R. montanensis (1.5-2.0%).

Rickettsia parkeri and Candidatus R. andeanae were found in 41.8-55.7% and 0-1.5% A. maculatum ticks, respectively. The rate of R. parkeri in A. maculatum ticks is among the highest in the literature and has increased in the 2 years since R. parkeri and A. maculatum were first reported in southeastern Virginia. We conclude that tick populations in southeastern Virginia have recently undergone dramatic changes in species and abundance and that these populations support a variety of rickettsial agents with the potential for increased risk to human health.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, Rickettsia amblyommii, Rickettsia montanensis, Rickettsia parkeri


More Abstracts

J Med Entomol. 1991 Sep;28(5):668-74.

Borrelia burgdorferi in ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) from coastal Virginia.

Levine JF, Sonenshine DE, Nicholson WL, Turner RT.

Department of Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27606.


Ixodid ticks removed from hosts and from vegetation during March-November 1987 at sites in coastal Virginia and North Carolina were examined for Borrelia burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi was evident in nine (22%) Ixodes cookei Packard removed from rice rats (Oryzomys palustris), a white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), and raccoons (Procyon lotor); four (6%) Amblyomma americanum (L.) removed from raccoons; and two (3%) Dermacentor variabilis (Say) removed from a raccoon and a rice rat. B. burgdorferi was also detected in Ixodes dentatus Marx removed from a brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), a Carolina wren (Thryothoros ludovicianus), and a towhee (Piplio erythrophthalamus); and in Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (Packard) removed from a brown thrasher and a white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) netted at Kiptopeke Beach, Va. Two Ixodes dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman & Corwin were collected on Parramore Island; one specimen was examined for spirochetes, and it was infected with B. burgdorferi. No spirochetes were detected in host-seeking A. americanum and Amblyomma maculatum Koch removed from vegetation. The plasma of one P. leucopus and sera obtained from two P. lotor contained antibodies to B. burgdorferi. All infected ticks and the seroreactive hosts were collected from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

PMID: 1941936 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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J Wildl Dis. 1983 Oct;19(4):345-8.

Parasites, diseases, and health status of sympatric populations of sika deer and white-tailed deer in Maryland and Virginia.

Davidson WR, Crow CB.


In July 1981, investigations on parasites, diseases, and herd health status were conducted on sympatric populations of sika deer (Cervus nippon) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Maryland) and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (Virginia) on the Delmarva Peninsula. Five adult deer of each species were collected from each location and subjected to thorough necropsy examinations and laboratory tests. White-tailed deer at both locations harbored protozoan, helminth, and arthropod parasites typically associated with this species throughout the southeastern United States. In contrast, sika deer at both locations harbored only light burdens of ticks, chiggers, and sarcocysts. Serologic tests for antibodies to seven infectious disease agents revealed evidence of exposure to bovine virus diarrhea (BVD) virus, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus, and parainfluenza3 virus in white-tailed deer, but only BVD virus in sika deer. At both locations the general health status of sika deer was superior to that of white-tailed deer.

PMID: 6644934 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article

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Arch Intern Med. 1976 Jul;136(7):811-3.

Tickborne oculoglandular tularemia: case report and review of seasonal and vectorial associations in 106 cases. Guerrant RL, Humphries MK Jr, Butler JE, Jackson RS.


A patient acquired tickborne oculoglandular tularemia in early summer in rural Virginia. Tick exposure may be a clue to the diagnosis of tularemia in the eastern as well as the western United States, especially in summer months. A review of the experience with tularemia in Virginia for the last 13 years shows a bimodal seasonal incidence of tularemia with an associated vector exposure in 77.4% of 106 cases. The majority of cases occurring during winter months have been associated with rabbit exposure, while those in summer months are often associated with tick exposure.

PMID: 938174 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances

J Med Entomol. 1971 Dec 30;8(6):623-35.

The ecology of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (L.), in two contrasting habitats in Virginia (Acarina: Ixodidae).

Sonenshine DE, Levy GF.

PMID: 5153583 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Am Fam Physician. 1988 Jun;37(6):95-104.

Tick-borne diseases. Petri WA Jr.

University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.


Tick-borne diseases have their peak incidence in the spring and summer. The different infections caused by tick vectors have certain geographic locations and unique clinical presentations. The most common tick-transmitted infection is Lyme disease. Early diagnosis of tick-borne disease is essential so that effective and, in some cases, lifesaving antibiotic therapy can be instituted. Preventive measures are simple.

PMID: 3289344 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Va Med. 1990 Apr;117(4):160-1.

Ehrlichiosis in Virginia: case reports. Ende M, O'Donnal PM, Ende FI, Ende M.


Ehrlichiosis is a disease that should be considered in any case of chills, fever and malaise, with or without a history of tick bites. PMID: 2349832 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Am J Med Sci. 1990 Nov;300(5):283-7.

Epidemiology of Lyme disease in Virginia. Heimberger T, Jenkins S, Russell H, Duma R.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.


Prior to January 1986, only one case of Lyme disease was reported from Virginia. In 1986-87, however, the Virginia Department of Health observed an increase in reports of suspected Lyme disease by physicians, despite the fact that Ixodes dammini is not highly prevalent in the Virginia tick population. Twenty-eight cases of Lyme disease were identified in Virginia, of which eight cases occurred in 1986 and 20 in 1987. Lyme disease appears to be increasing in frequency in Virginia and moving southward along the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard.PMID: 2240015 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

J Parasitol. 1993 Oct;79(5):684-9.

Immature Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) parasitizing lizards from the southeastern U.S.A.

Oliver JH Jr, Cummins GA, Joiner MS. Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro 30460-8056.


Preserved museum specimens of 13 lizard and 3 snake species common in the southeastern U.S.A. were examined for immature Ixodes scapularis Say ticks. Five Eumeces and 4 Ophisaurus lizard species yielded an infestation prevalence of 17.8% for species of Eumeces and 29.0% for species of Ophisaurus. Mean intensity of larvae and nymphs was 7.1 and 2.7, respectively, for species of Eumeces, and 6.3 and 1.4, respectively, for species of Ophisaurus. Collection dates of the lizards ranged from January through December, but most were collected from March through October. The maximum number of immatures found on a single specimen was 193 larvae and 11 nymphs on a specimen of Eumeces and 75 larvae and 7 nymphs on a specimen of Ophisaurus. For species of Eumeces, 75.2% of all nymphs observed were attached in the shoulder area. Larvae were most abundant on the rear legs (53.3%), followed by the front legs (26.3%) and shoulders (12.9%). Larvae and nymphs on species of Ophisaurus were found almost exclusively in the lateral groove area (84.0% and 94.4%, respectively). Three other lizard species (Anolis carolinensis, Sceloporus undulatus, Scincella lateralis) had only a few ticks or none. A fourth species, Cnemidophorus sexlineatus, hosted a total of 3 larvae on 3 specimens (infestation prevalence, 10.7%). Three snake species (Diadophis punctatus, Virginia striatula, Crotalus adamanteus) had none.PMID: 8410539 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1995 Aug;53(2):123-33.

Borrelia burgdorferi in eastern Virginia: comparison between a coastal and inland locality.

Sonenshine DE, Ratzlaff RE, Troyer J, Demmerle S, Demmerle ER, Austin WE, Tan S, Annis BA, Jenkins S.

Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.


In Virginia, Borrelia burgdorferi was more prevalent in a site along the Atlantic Ocean, near Maryland, than in an inland site near Williamsburg and Yorktown. At the coastal site on Assateague Island, B. burgdorferi was isolated from 4.2% of 475 animals sampled, including four species of small mammals. Serologic tests indicated that 25-37% of the small rodents assayed had been exposed to B. burgdorferi. Immunofluorescence antibody assays specific for B. burgdorferi showed spirochete infection in Ixodes scapularis and Dermacentor variabilis but not in other species of ticks also examined from this site. At another coastal site (Parramore Island), no evidence of Peromyscus leucopus was found, no immature specimens of I. scapularis were collected, and no isolations were made from numerous raccoons or small mammals sampled. Borrelia burgdorferi infection was found in one I. cookei nymph, but not in numerous specimens of I. scapularis or other tick species from this locality. At the inland site between Williamsburg and Yorktown, B. burgdorferi was isolated from two small mammal species and antibodies to B. burgdorferi were found in only 7-10% of the small mammals sampled. Ixodes scapularis were less abundant at this locality than at the Assateague Island site. Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes were found in I. scapularis and a single nymph of Amblyomma americanum, but not in any of numerous specimens of four other species. Infection with B. burgdorferi was found in 20% of unfed adult I. scapularis from vegetation, but in only 0.2% of numerous adults from hunter-killed deer. Infection in immature ticks was much lower than at Assateague Island. Borrelia burgdorferi may be more prevalent along the Atlantic coast than in inland areas. Isolations, seroprevalence, immature I. scapularis densities, and spirochete infection rates in ticks were higher at the Assateague Island site than the Williamsburg/Yorktown site. Consequently, the risk of human exposure to Lyme disease may be higher in some parts of the coastal area than elsewhere in Virginia. Overall, B. burgdorferi is less intense in Virginia than in the northeastern United States. PMID: 7677212 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Am J Vet Res. 1997 May;58(5):467-71.

Epidemiologic evaluation of the risk factors associated with exposure and seroreactivity to Bartonella vinsonii in dogs.

Pappalardo BL, Correa MT, York CC, Peat CY, Breitschwerdt EB.

Department of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27606, USA.


OBJECTIVES: To determine seroprevalence to Bartonella vinsonii subsp berkhoffii in a population of sick dogs from North Carolina and Virginia and to evaluate potential risk factors associated with increased likelihood of exposure to the organism. SAMPLE POPULATION: Serum samples from 1,920 sick dogs. PROCEDURE: An indirect fluorescent antibody assay was performed on each sample, and the end-point antibody titer was recorded. A case (seropositive) was defined as a dog with reciprocal titer > or = 64, and a control (seronegative) was defined as a dog with reciprocal titer < 16 that was referred within 0 to 3 days of referral of a corresponding case. From this population, 207 dogs (69 cases and 138 controls) were included in a case-control seroepidemiologic study. RESULTS: 3.6% (69/1,920) of the dogs were seropositive to B vinsonii subsp berkhoffii. Results of the case-control study indicated that seropositive dogs were more likely to live in rural environments, frequently on a farm, were free to roam the neighborhood, and were considered to be predominantly outdoor dogs. Moreover, seropositive dogs were 14 times more likely to have a history of heavy tick exposure. After analysis of the case-control study, a more detailed examination of banked sera from dogs with known tick exposure was performed. High correlation was found between sero-reactivity to B vinsonii and seroreactivity to E canis or B canis (36.0 and 57.1%, respectively). Sera derived from dogs experimentally infected with E canis or R rickettsii did not cross react with B vinsonii antigen. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Several potential risk factors are associated with canine exposure to B vinsonii. Rhipicephalus sanguineus, the tick vector for E canis and B canis, may be involved in B vinsonii transmission among dogs. PMID: 9140552 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

J Med Entomol. 1998 Sep;35(5):629-38.

Reported distribution of Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the United States.

Dennis DT, Nekomoto TS, Victor JC, Paul WS, Piesman J. Division of Vector-Borne Infection Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA.


Lyme disease, caused by infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most frequently reported arthropod-borne disease in the United States. To develop a national map of the distribution of the vectors of B. burgdorferi to humans (Ixodes scapularis Say and Ixodes pacificus Cooley & Kohls ticks), we sent questionnaires to acarologists, health officials, and Lyme disease researchers; surveyed the 1966-1996 MEDLINE data base; and reviewed 1907-1995 National Tick Collection data. Tick collection methods cited included flagging and dragging, deer surveys, small- and medium-sized mammal surveys, CO2 baiting, and receipt of tick submissions. A total of 1,058 unique, county-specific I. scapularis and I. pacificus records was obtained. Tick populations were classified as "reported" (< 6 ticks and 1 life stage identified) or "established" (> or = 6 ticks or > 1 life stage identified). Established populations of I. scapularis were identified in 396 counties in 32 states in the eastern and central United States, whereas established populations of I. pacificus were found in 90 counties in 5 western states. Counties with established populations were most concentrated in the northeastern, upper northcentral, and west-coastal states but were also clustered in southeastern and Gulf-coastal states. A less concentrated distribution was found in the south-central states. Reports were notably missing from all but a few counties in Ohio, West Virginia, western Virginia and North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. They were absent in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions and from large areas of western states east of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada cordilleras. These data are useful for identifying areas of Lyme disease risk, for targeting Lyme disease prevention strategies, and for monitoring trends in spatial distribution of Lyme disease vector ticks.PMID: 9775584 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

J Med Entomol. 1999 Sep;36(5):578-87.

Ticks and antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi from mammals at Cape Hatteras, NC and Assateague Island, MD and VA.

Oliver JH Jr, Magnarelli LA, Hutcheson HJ, Anderson JF.

Institute of Arthropodology & Parasitology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro 30460, USA.


Results of a survey for ixodid ticks and/or serum antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi from 14 species of small to large mammals from eastern coastal areas of the United States are presented. Most samples were obtained from July 1987 through June 1989 (excluding December-March) at 3 locales: Assateague Is. National Seashore, Worcester Co., MD., and Accomack Co., VA. (approximately 38 degrees 05' N 75 degrees 10' W), and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Dare Co., NC (approximately 35 degrees 30' N 76 degrees 35' W). Hosts sampled included opossums (Didelphis virginiana), least shrews (Cryptotis parva), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), raccoons (Procyon lotor), feral cats (Felis sylvestris), feral horses (Equus caballus), sika deer (Cervus nippon), rice rats (Oryzomys palustris), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), house mice (Mus musculus), norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius). An indirect fluorescent antibody test was used for testing sera from opossums, raccoons, and feral cats; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used for sera from foxes, horses, deer, and house and white-footed mice. Antibodies to B. burgdorferi were found in all species tested from each locale. Seasonal data reinforce the contention that P. leucopus is a suitable sentinel species for B. burgdorferi. Ticks on hosts included Ixodes scapularis Say, I. texanus Banks, Dermacentor variabilis (Say), D. albipictus (Packard), and Amblyomma americanum (L.). Males comprised approximately 0-22 and 60-81% of Ixodes sp. and Amblyomma-Dermacentor adults collected from hosts, respectively. All stages of A. americanum, adult D. variabilis, and larval I. scapularis were collected from vegetation. The highest seropositivity rate (67%) was recorded for 45 P. leucopus at Assateague during July, approximately 1 mo. after peak nymphal I. scapularis intensity. Borrelia burgdorferi was isolated from 6 nymphal and 12 female I. scapularis collected from P. leucopus and C. nippon, respectively, on Assateague. PMID: 10534951 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

J Med Entomol. 2008 Jan;45(1):176-9.

Detection of two Bartonella tamiae-like sequences in Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) using 16S-23S intergenic spacer region-specific primers.

Billeter SA, Miller MK, Breitschwerdt EB, Levy MG. Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.


Four hundred and sixty-six questing Amblyomma americanum (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae) from Carolina County, VA, and 98 questing A. americanum from Chatham County, NC, were screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the Bartonella 16S-23S intergenic spacer region. Two amplicons, approximately 270-280 bp, were detected in two ticks from Virginia. Based upon PCR and sequencing, an adult male and adult female tick harbored DNA sequences closely related to Bartonella tamiae (DQ395180). Bartonella DNA was not detected in A. americanum from North Carolina. Potential transmission of Bartonella spp. by A. americanum should be the focus of future experimental studies. PMID: 18283962 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Geospat Health. 2008 May;2(2):241-52.

The effects of vegetation density and habitat disturbance on the spatial distribution of ixodid ticks (Acari: Ixodidae).

Stein KJ, Waterman M, Waldon JL. Conservation Management Institute, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA. steinkj@earthlink.net


Larval, nymphal, and adult Amblyomma americanum (L.), and adult Dermacentor variabilis (Say) ticks were collected using timed dragging techniques, in an attempt to examine how different habitat variables affect models that describe the distribution of ticks in Virginia, USA. Tick count data were modeled using two approaches: (i) habitat and edge, and (ii) habitat, edge, vegetation density and levels of disturbance. Nymphs and adults tended to follow a forest edge distribution when analysed by habitat and edge. Using all variables, we detected a positive relationship with forest edges and negative associations with high-density vegetation. When larvae were modeled by habitat and edge, we failed to detect associations with the edges of habitats. When all variables were included in the larval analysis, disturbed meadow edges emerged as important in the first year, and the categories of disturbed and maturing habitat in the second year. Vegetation density and levels of disturbance were marginally important towards explaining the distribution of nymphs and adults; however, levels of disturbance were potentially more important to the distribution of larvae, than habitat types. Using the habitat and edge variables, and predicted mean encounter rates for all stages of A. americanum and adult D. variabilis, we successfully cross-validated our predictions of high, moderate and low tick densities in both years. The results for nymphs and adults were combined to develop a colour-coded threat assessment map. We estimated that the majority of ticks were located on approximately 20% of the landscape. The potential uses of geographical information system-based threat maps are discussed. PMID: 18686272 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article

J Wildl Dis. 2008 Apr;44(2):381-7. Natural and experimental infection of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from the United States with an Ehrlichia sp. closely related to Ehrlichia ruminantium.

Yabsley MJ, Loftis AD, Little SE. Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA. myabsley@uga.edu


An Ehrlichia sp. (Panola Mountain [PM] Ehrlichia sp.) closely related to Ehrlichia ruminantium was recently detected in a domestic goat experimentally infested with lone star ticks (LSTs, Amblyomma americanum) collected from Georgia, USA. The infected goat exhibited pyrexia and mild clinical pathologic abnormalities consistent with ehrlichiosis. At least two other Ehrlichia species (Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii) are maintained in nature by a cycle involving LSTs as the primary vector and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) as a known or suspected reservoir. To investigate the possibility that white-tailed deer are potential hosts of the PM Ehrlichia sp., whole blood samples collected from 87 wild deer from 2000 to 2002 were screened with a species-specific nested PCR assay targeting the citrate synthase gene. In addition, two laboratory-raised white-tailed deer fawns were each infested with 120 wild-caught LST adults from Missouri, USA, and blood samples were periodically collected and tested for the PM Ehrlichia sp. Of 87 deer tested from 20 locations in the southeastern United States, three (3%) deer from Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia were positive for the PM Ehrlichia sp. Wild-caught ticks transmitted the PM Ehrlichia sp. to one of two deer fawns, and colony-reared nymphal LSTs acquired the organism from the deer, maintained it transstadially as they molted to adults, and transmitted the PM Ehrlichia sp. to two naïve fawns. These findings indicate that white-tailed deer are naturally and experimentally susceptible to infection with an Ehrlichia sp. closely related to E. ruminantium and are able to serve as a source of infection to LSTs. PMID: 18436670 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article