The prevalence of the most abundant species of ticks found in Pennsylvania has shifted over the last century, according to Penn State scientists, who analyzed 117 years' worth of specimens and data submitted primarily by residents from around the state. The researchers said understanding the spatial distribution patterns and host associations revealed by their analysis is important for assessing and reducing the risk of diseases caused by tick-borne pathogens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 3.5-fold increase in vector-borne diseases in the United States between 2004 and 2016, with more than 76% of cases caused by tick-borne pathogens. Shown here: A "questing" female Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) reaches out in hopes of climbing aboard a host. Researchers say the blacklegged tick, the primary vector of Lyme disease, was almost nonexistent in Pennsylvania in the 1960s but now is the state's dominant tick species.
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