Date of Graduation

Fall 2013


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

John Steiert


Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia lonestari, Borreliosis, Lyme disease, STARI, molecular epidemiology

Subject Categories



Borrelia burgdorferi is the causative agent of Lyme disease and Borrelia lonestari was once the suspect agent of southern tick associated rash illness. Both are transmitted to human via the bite of an infected tick. The goal of this study was to investigate the prevalence of these Borrelia spp in ticks collected from southwest Missouri. A total of 433 ticks (Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis) were collected during the summer of 2011. DNA was extracted from individual adult ticks and pools of 5 nymphs. A PCR assay was used for the detection of Borrelia spp Tick samples that tested positive for Borrelia spp were confirmed by sequencing the PCR product. Of the 433 ticks collected, eight (1.9%) tested positive for B. burgdorferi, and there were no confirmed B. lonestari positives. Previous results from ticks collected in 2009 and 2010 showed a positive PCR result but could not be verified by sequencing the PCR product. These DNA samples that produced inconclusive results were further analyzed and found to be positive for B. lonestari.


© Richard Dean Wells

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