Impact of Unexplored Data Sources on the Historical Distribution of Three Vector Tick Species in Illinois

Beth Gilliam, Peg Gronemeyer, Sulagna Chakraborty, Fikriyah Winata, Lee Ann Lyons, Catherine Miller-Hunt, Holly C. Tuten, Samantha Debosik, Debbie Freeman, Marilyn O'Hara-Ruiz, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We updated the Illinois historical (1905-December 2017) distribution and status (not reported, reported or established) maps for Amblyomma americanum (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae), Dermacentor variabilis (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae), and Ixodes scapularis (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae) by compiling publicly available, previously unexplored or newly identified published and unpublished data (untapped data). Primary data sources offered specific tick-level information, followed by secondary and tertiary data sources. For A. americanum, D. variabilis, and I. scapularis, primary data contributed to 90% (4,045/4,482), 80% (2,124/2,640), and 32% (3,490/10,898) tick records vs 10%, 20%, and 68%, respectively from secondary data; primary data updated status in 95% (62/65), 94% (51/54) and in 90% (9/10) of the updated counties for each of these tick species; by 1985 there were tick records in 6%, 68%, and 0% of the counties, compared to 20%, 72%, and 58% by 2004, and 77%, 96%, and 75% of the counties by 2017, respectively for A. americanum, D. variabilis, and I. scapularis. We document the loss of tick records due to unidentified, not cataloged tick collections, unidentified ticks in tick collections, unpublished data or manuscripts without specific county location, and tick-level information, to determine distribution and status. In light of the increase in tick-borne illnesses, updates in historical distributions and status maps help researchers and health officials to identify risk areas for a tick encounter and suggest targeted areas for public outreach and surveillance efforts for ticks and tick-borne diseases. There is a need for a systematic, national vector surveillance program to support research and public health responses to tick expansions and tick-borne diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbertjz235
Pages (from-to)872-883
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of medical entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • INHS
  • tick
  • distribution
  • establishment
  • surveillance
  • Illinois

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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