TRANSMISSION OF GRANULOCYTIC EHRLICHIOSIS

Summary

Principal Investigator: Sam Telford
Abstract: We propose to determine whether the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis in coastal New England is cotransmitted with those of Lyme disease and human babesiosis. An Ehrlichia with molecular identity to one infecting humans in the upper Midwest was isolated from a Nantucket resident by subinoculation of her blood into laboratory mice. This agent stably infects intact or splenectomised outbred and inbred mice, as well as Peromyscus leucopus, the main enzootic reservoir of Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti in the northeastern U.S. Nymphal deer ticks that had fed as larvae on experimentally infected mice transmitted the agent to uninfected mice, definitively demonstrating vector competence. Thus, we shall 1) determine the mode of perpetuation of the HGE agent in coastal Massachusetts, focusing on the hypothesis that borreliae, babesiae, and ehrlichiae share an enzootic cycle between rodent reservoirs and the deer tick vector; 2) refine our methods for detecting evidence of HGE infection in vertebrate and tick hosts, comparing microscopy-based methods (including immunohistochemistry) with a polymerase chain reaction assay; and 3) describe the public health burden of this emergent zoonosis relative to that of Lyme disease and babesiosis in various coastal New England communities, by retrospective analysis of a large serum bank, as well as by prospective cohort study. Together, these studies are designed to describe how humans become infected by this new zoonotic agent, and provide a basis for intervention.
Funding Period: 1996-08-01 - 2002-07-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Hypersensitivity to ticks and Lyme disease risk
    Georgine Burke
    Connecticut Children s Medical Center, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
    Emerg Infect Dis 11:36-41. 2005
  2. ncbi Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Case 10-2005. A 73-year-old man with weakness and pain in the legs
    Howard M Heller
    Infectious Disease Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
    N Engl J Med 352:1358-64. 2005
  3. pmc Raccoons and skunks as sentinels for enzootic tularemia
    Zenda L Berrada
    Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536, USA
    Emerg Infect Dis 12:1019-21. 2006
  4. ncbi Fay and Rausch 1969 revisited: Babesia microti in Alaskan small mammals
    Heidi K Goethert
    Division of Infectious Diseases, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536, USA
    J Parasitol 92:826-31. 2006

Scientific Experts

  • Peter Krause
  • Sam Telford
  • Heidi K Goethert
  • Zenda L Berrada
  • Howard M Heller
  • Georgine Burke
  • Ellen Weintraub Lance
  • Joseph A Cook
  • John A Branda
  • Kathleen McKay
  • Stephen K Wikel
  • Andrew Spielman

Detail Information

Publications4

  1. pmc Hypersensitivity to ticks and Lyme disease risk
    Georgine Burke
    Connecticut Children s Medical Center, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
    Emerg Infect Dis 11:36-41. 2005
    ..14, 95% CI 0.94-0.03, p = 0.01). Prior exposure to uninfected vector ticks protects residents of disease-endemic sites from Lyme disease...
  2. ncbi Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Case 10-2005. A 73-year-old man with weakness and pain in the legs
    Howard M Heller
    Infectious Disease Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
    N Engl J Med 352:1358-64. 2005
  3. pmc Raccoons and skunks as sentinels for enzootic tularemia
    Zenda L Berrada
    Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536, USA
    Emerg Infect Dis 12:1019-21. 2006
    ..Skunks and raccoons were frequently seroreactive, whereas white-footed mice, cottontail rabbits, deer, rats, and dogs were not. Tularemia surveillance may be facilitated by focusing on skunks and raccoons...
  4. ncbi Fay and Rausch 1969 revisited: Babesia microti in Alaskan small mammals
    Heidi K Goethert
    Division of Infectious Diseases, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536, USA
    J Parasitol 92:826-31. 2006
    ..Sequence analysis of the 18S rDNA gene demonstrates that Alaskan B. microti comprises a clade that infects microtines in several sites across North America and is distinct from a clade that is zoonotic...