Archive for June, 2010

Evaluation of Veterinary and Human Health Data for Surveillance of Human Tick-Borne Diseases in North Carolina

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Tick-borne diseases are an important cause of human morbidity in North
Carolina. This study evaluated the use of routinely collected veterinary
hospital and human hospital emergency department (ED) data for earlier
signal detection compared with routine reporting of tick-borne diseases
to the North Carolina Division of Public Health in 2006 and 2007.

The Early Aberration Reporting System was used to detect the earliest
indication of an increase in number of dogs infested with ticks that
were brought to veterinary hospitals and in number of people presenting
to EDs with a tick-related chief complaint or who had an ED
International Classification of Diseases diagnosis code of tick-borne

Results indicate that systematic monitoring of veterinary hospital and
human ED data can detect increases in tick activity 4 weeks earlier than
the current surveillance method, which would facilitate timely
initiation of tick prevention and increased clinical awareness among
veterinarians and physicians.

Recent Discovery of Widespread Ixodes affinis Distribution in NC

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Ixodes affinis, which is similar morphologically to Ixodes scapularis, is widely distributed in North Carolina. Collections have documented this species in 32 of 41 coastal plain counties, but no piedmont or mountain counties.

This coastal plain distribution is similar to its distribution in Georgia and South Carolina, where it is considered an enzootic vector of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto. An updated list of hosts for I. affinis in the U.S.A. is included, increasing the number to 15 mammal and one bird species.

The presence of questing adults of I. affinis from April to November reinforces the need for confirmed identifications of suspected tick vectors of Borrelia spirochetes collected during warm months.

Recent Discovery of Widespread Ixodes affinis (Acari: Ixodidae)
Distribution in North Carolina with Implications for Lyme Disease Studies
Bruce A. Harrison, Walker H. Rayburn Jr., Marcee Toliver, Eugene E.
Powell, Barry R. Engber, Lance A. Durden, Richard G. Robbins, Brian F.
Prendergast and Parker B. Whitt
Journal of Vector Ecology 35(1):174-179. June 2010