Tick Density Modelling and Detection of Rickettsia rickettsii in Adult Dermacentor spp. Ticks in Spokane County

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Krisztian Magori


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Document Type

Oral Presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2020




Ticks are ectoparasites which cause the highest number of vector-borne disease cases in North America, largely due to human encroachment into natural areas as well as climate change. In the Inland Northwest the common two tick species are Dermacentor andersoni (Rocky Mountain Wood Tick) and Dermacentor variabilis (American Dog Tick). Neither of these closely related species can host or transmit Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiological agent of Lyme disease, they can transmit other pathogens such as the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii, which causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The purpose of this project is twofold. The primary goal is to describe, explain, and predict Dermacentor tick questing behavior in Spokane County by collecting ticks and environmental data from Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Fishtrap Recreation Area, Palisades Park, and Dishman Hills. R statistical software and ArcMap will be used to build a high resolution questing tick density model and map of Spokane County used to predict areas of high tick concentration based on environmental factors determined to be significant predictors. Secondly, ticks collected for model production will be tested for Rickettsia rickettsii using PCR. This is particularly important given a documented case of the disease in Spokane County in 2019. The project will provide valuable data to healthcare professionals, land management personnel, and will benefit public safety.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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