Horse Studies- Assateague Island

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 Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990 Apr 15;196(8):1255-8.

Serologic survey for Borrelia burgdorferi antibody in horses referred to a mid-Atlantic veterinary teaching hospital.

Bernard WV, Cohen D, Bosler E, Zamos D.

Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square 19348.

Blood samples obtained from 13 of 100 (13%) and 6 of 91 (7%) horses at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals in the months of June and October, respectively, had antibody to Borrelia burgdorferi as determined by ELISA. Horses from the states of New York, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were seropositive for B burgdorferi.

The frequency of antibody response in horses from New Jersey was greater (P less than 0.05) than the frequency of antibody response in horses from Pennsylvania or that of horses from the other states combined. Statistically significant difference was not found when a comparison was made between horses with serotiter and open diagnosis of neurologic or musculoskeletal disease and horses with negative serotest results and open diagnosis of neurologic or musculoskeletal disease.

PMID: 2332371 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Last Updated- April 2019

Lucy Barnes