|lone star tick|
(Linnaeus, 1758) 
|Red indicates where the species is normally found; Blue indicates other locations where the species has been reported|
It is very widespread in the United States ranging from Texas to Iowa in the Midwest and east to the coast where it can be found as far north as Maine, but most commonly found in a 20 mile radius of Richmond, VA. It is most common in wooded areas, particularly in forests with thick underbrush, and large trees.
Like all ticks, it can be a vector of diseases including human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia chaffeensis), canine and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia ewingii), tularemia (Francisella tularensis), and Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI, possibly caused by the spirochete Borrelia lonestari). STARI exhibits a rash similar to that caused by Lyme disease but is generally considered to be less severe.
Though the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, has occasionally been isolated from lone star ticks, numerous vector competency tests have demonstrated that this tick is extremely unlikely to be capable of transmitting Lyme disease. There is evidence that the A. americanum saliva inactivates Borrelia burgdorferi more quickly than the saliva of Ixodes scapularis.
According to research by Drs Thomas Platts-Mills and Scott Commins published in 2009 , the bite of this tick can cause a person to develop an allergy to non-primate mammalian meat and meat products. This allergy is characterized by adult onset, and a delayed reaction of uticaria or anaphlaxis appearing 4-8 hrs after consumption of the allergen. The allergen has been identified as a carbohydrate called Alpha-Galactose, commonly known as alpha gal. As well as occurring in non-primate mammals, Alpha Gal is also found in cat dander and a drug used to treat head and neck cancer. Commercial tests for Alpha Gal IgE became available following from this research.
- Piesman J, Sinsky RJ., Ability to Ixodes scapularis, Dermacentor variabilis, and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) to acquire, maintain, and transmit Lyme disease spirochetes (Borrelia burgdorferi) ; J Med Entomol. 1988 Sep; 25(5):336-9.
- Amblyomma americanum at the Encyclopedia of Life
- James E. Childs & Christopher D. Paddock (2003). "The ascendancy of Amblyomma americanum as a vector of pathogens affecting humans in the United States". Annual Review of Entomology 48 (1): 307–337. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.48.091801.112728. PMID 12414740.
- Edwin J. Masters, Chelsea N. Grigery & Reid W. Masters (June 2008). "STARI, or Masters disease: lone star tick-vectored Lyme-like illness". Infectious Disease Clinics of North America 22 (2): 361–376, viii. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2007.12.010. PMID 18452807.
- K. E. Ledin, N. S. Zeidner, J. M. C. Ribeiro, B. J. Biggerstaff, M. C. Dolan, G. Dietrich, L. VredEvoe & J. Piesman (March 2005). "Borreliacidal activity of saliva of the tick Amblyomma americanum". Medical and Veterinary Entomology 19 (1): 90–95. doi:10.1111/j.0269-283X.2005.00546.x. PMID 15752182.