Title

Investigating the Co-Occurrence of Rickettsia parkeri and Rickettsia andeanae in Gulf Coast Tick Populations in Virginia

Description/Abstract

Gulf Coast ticks, Amblyomma maculatum, are the principal vectors of the pathogen Rickettsia parkeri in the southeastern U.S. Rickettsia parkeri, the causative agent of a type of spotted fever rickettsiosis, is an intracellular bacterium that can be transmitted through tick saliva. Presence of a closely-related species, R. andeanae, in Gulf Coast tick populations appears to limit prevalence of R. parkeri. To investigate co-occurrence in ticks, we hypothesized that sites in Virginia with higher R. parkeri prevalence would have lower prevalence of R. andeanae. We tested 232 ticks for collected from five sites in Virginia for R. parkeri and R. andeanae using a real-time PCR assay targeting species-specific sequences of the ompB gene. Overall, 48.7% of 232 ticks were infected with R. parkeri, and only 5% were positive for R. andeanae with R. parkeri infection observed in Virginia Gulf Coast ticks along with few R. andeanae infections conforms to the hypothesis that R. parkeri and R. andeanae rarely co-occur. Further work will expand the geographic area covered to include more sites across the southeastern U.S.

Presenting Author Name/s

Asha Dunlap, Josue Espinal, Victoria Gosine, and Lulu Elzein

Faculty Advisor

David Gauthier

Presentation Type

Poster

Disciplines

Biology

Session Title

Poster Session

Location

Learning Commons, Atrium

Start Date

2-8-2020 8:00 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 12:30 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Feb 8th, 8:00 AM Feb 8th, 12:30 PM

Investigating the Co-Occurrence of Rickettsia parkeri and Rickettsia andeanae in Gulf Coast Tick Populations in Virginia

Learning Commons, Atrium

Gulf Coast ticks, Amblyomma maculatum, are the principal vectors of the pathogen Rickettsia parkeri in the southeastern U.S. Rickettsia parkeri, the causative agent of a type of spotted fever rickettsiosis, is an intracellular bacterium that can be transmitted through tick saliva. Presence of a closely-related species, R. andeanae, in Gulf Coast tick populations appears to limit prevalence of R. parkeri. To investigate co-occurrence in ticks, we hypothesized that sites in Virginia with higher R. parkeri prevalence would have lower prevalence of R. andeanae. We tested 232 ticks for collected from five sites in Virginia for R. parkeri and R. andeanae using a real-time PCR assay targeting species-specific sequences of the ompB gene. Overall, 48.7% of 232 ticks were infected with R. parkeri, and only 5% were positive for R. andeanae with R. parkeri infection observed in Virginia Gulf Coast ticks along with few R. andeanae infections conforms to the hypothesis that R. parkeri and R. andeanae rarely co-occur. Further work will expand the geographic area covered to include more sites across the southeastern U.S.