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Title: Likely Geographic Distributional Shifts among Medically Important Tick Species and Tick-Associated Diseases under Climate Change in North America: A Review
Ticks rank high among arthropod vectors in terms of numbers of infectious agents that they transmit to humans, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, human monocytic ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis. Increasing temperature is suspected to affect tick biting rates and pathogen developmental rates, thereby potentially increasing risk for disease incidence. Tick distributions respond to climate change, but how their geographic ranges will shift in future decades and how those shifts may translate into changes in disease incidence remain unclear. In this study, we have assembled correlative ecological niche models for eight tick species of medical or veterinary importance in North America (Ixodes scapularis, I. pacificus, I. cookei, Dermacentor variabilis, D. andersoni, Amblyomma americanum, A. maculatum, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus), assessing the distributional potential of each under both present and future climatic conditions. Our goal was to assess whether and how species’ distributions will likely shift in coming decades in response to climate change. We interpret these patterns in terms of likely implications for tick-associated diseases in North America.
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National Science Foundation
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