The first set of tick-borne rodent pathogen data from the 5 pilot sites tested in 2020 are now available on the portal. Beginning in 2021, Observatory-wide rodent pathogen testing will be for tick-borne pathogens, and data will be available through the rodent pathogen status, tick-borne data product. Prior to 2020, all of the rodent pathogen tests are for hantavirus and are available in the rodent pathogen status, hantavirus data product.
The 2020 sampling year consisted of a pilot project in which both ear and blood samples from 5 sites (HARV, SCBI, TREE, KONZ, and ORNL) were tested for a range of tick-borne pathogens, including: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Borrelia mayonii, Babesia microti, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia muris-like agent, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Borrelia lonestari, Ehrlichia ewingii, Francisella tularensis, Rickettsia rickettsia, Rickettsia parkeri, Rickettsia philipii, and Bartonella henselae.
Full implementation of tick-borne disease testing in small mammals will begin in the 2021 field season. Moving forward, both ear and blood samples will be tested for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Borrelia mayonii, Babesia microti, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Ehrlichia muris-like agent. Blood samples will additionally be tested for the subset of pathogens including Rickettsia rickettsia, Rickettsia parkeri, and Rickettsia philipii because these pathogens are more commonly found in blood than ear tissue. Ear samples will only be tested from the subset of Domains where Borrelia burgdorferi is most likely to occur since this pathogen is more readily found in ear than blood tissue. These include D01, D02, D03, D05, D06, D07, D08, and D09. Moving forward, (from the 2020 field season onwards) all rodent pathogen testing will be for tick-borne diseases, and no additional hantavirus tests will be conducted by NEON.