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I. scapularis. A. americanum, black-legged tick, tick-borne diseases




Tick-borne diseases threaten the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems. Throughout the summer of 2019, surveillance efforts were aimed at determining the status of the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in eastern South Dakota. The American dog tick (Dermacenter variabilis) and the lone star tick (Amblyoma americanum) were also recorded during this study. Tick surveys took place across fourteen locations within eight counties in eastern South Dakota: Yankton, Minnehaha, Lincoln, Marshall, Roberts, Day, Union, and Clay. Tick collection was conducted using the flagging method and each tick was identified in the lab by its species, life stage, and sex. A total of 266 ticks and three species were collected over the course of the survey from mid-May to late-July. The results reveal new established populations of the lone star tick as well as an increased occurrence of the black-legged tick. Combined with other recent findings, this indicates that the ranges of both I. scapularis and A. americanum are expanding, possibly due to climate change. As vectors of disease, ticks pose an increasing risk to public health in the state. Tick surveillance efforts in eastern South Dakota will help track tick establishment and inform the public of potential health threats.

First Advisor

Hugh Britten

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