Detection and Characteristics of Ehrlichia and Rickettsia in Callaway County, Missouri

Principal Investigators: Dr. Saminqueka Halsey, Mr. Jaylon Vaughn

Institution and/or Affiliation: University of Missouri

This project addresses the long-term goals of PFCA by seeking to understand how management actions aimed at re-establishing and maintaining the natural prairie and woodland community can affect disease prevalence. This project proposes a continuation of field data collection from PFCA to examine both small mammal and invertebrate tick communities for the prevalence of pathogens that are of public health significance in Missouri. Additionally, this project will help train both undergraduate and graduate students in restoration and disease ecology research at PFCA, further promoting innovative research and hands-on learning.

Our research-specific goals seek to understand how the prevalence of tick-borne diseases, most specifically Ehrlichia spp and Rickestia spp, in the tick species found at PFCA. This project is part of a larger long-term multi-site ecological study that includes PFCA. In addition, the results from this research will be used as part of the recently submitted grants for the Central Plain Region Center of Excellence for Vector-borne Diseases. This data on both vertebrate, invertebrate, and pathogen communities will be used to develop further refine models aimed at reducing tick-borne disease risk in Central Missouri.