Lone Star ticks in Illinois can carry, transmit Heartland virus

Dr. Holly Tuten, who is a vector ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, says she specializes in the study of spineless blood suckers such as ticks and tick-borne disease agents. Her current work with Erica Hernandez, right, looks at the Heartland Virus, a serious tick-borne virus that is now spreading into Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have confirmed that Heartland virus, an emerging pathogen with potentially dire consequences for those infected, is present in Lone Star ticks in two Illinois counties hundreds of miles apart. Lone Star ticks were first detected in Illinois in 1999 but had not been found to be infected with Heartland virus in the state.

The findings are reported in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Read the complete story here: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/1327389501

Asian tiger mosquito gains ground in Illinois

Researchers Chris Stone, left, and Rebecca Smith have been studying the impact of the invasion of Aedes albopictu mosquitoes. Hanging on the tree is a mosquito collection station. NEWS BUREAU PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/FRED ZWICKY

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers report that the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has become more abundant across Illinois in the past three decades. Its spread is problematic, as the mosquito can transmit diseases – like chikungunya or dengue fever – to humans.

The Asian tiger mosquito originated in the forests of southeast Asia. It found its way to Texas around 1985 and very quickly spread to Illinois.

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Disease-carrying coastal tick established in Illinois

Amblyomma maculatum (Gulf coast tick)female (left) and male (right)
Photo credit: Emily Struckhoff, INHS Medical Entomology Lab

The Gulf Coast tick is usually found in the Southeast along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, but researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) and Southern Illinois University (SIU) have new evidence of the Gulf Coast tick becoming established in Illinois. They also have found that it often harbors a pathogen that can make people sick. 

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