Monitoring of Nesting Songbirds Detects Established Population of Blacklegged Ticks and Associated Lyme Disease Endemic Area in Canada
International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, 2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7007, USA
School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8734, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Healthcare 2020, 8(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8010059
Received: 20 January 2020 / Revised: 26 February 2020 / Accepted: 3 March 2020 / Published: 13 March 2020
This study provides a novel method of documenting established populations of bird-feeding ticks. Single populations of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, and the rabbit tick, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, were revealed in southwestern Québec, Canada. Blacklegged tick nymphs and, similarly, larval and nymphal rabbit ticks were tested for the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl), using PCR and the flagellin (flaB) gene, and 14 (42%) of 33 of blacklegged tick nymphs tested were positive. In contrast, larval and nymphal H. leporsipalustris ticks were negative for Bbsl. The occurrence of Bbsl in I. scapularis nymphs brings to light the presence of a Lyme disease endemic area at this songbird nesting locality. Because our findings denote that this area is a Lyme disease endemic area, and I. scapularis is a human-biting tick, local residents and outdoor workers must take preventive measures to avoid tick bites. Furthermore, local healthcare practitioners must include Lyme disease in their differential diagnosis.