Term of Award

Summer 2004

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Quentin Q. Fang

Committee Member 1

William S. Irby

Committee Member 2

Lance A. Durden


Author's abstract: Q-fever is a zoonosis caused by a worldwide-distributed bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Ticks are vectors of the Q-fever agent but play a secondary role in transmission because the agent is also transmitted via aerosols. Most Q-fever studies have focused on farm animals but not ticks collected from dogs in animal shelters. In order to detect the Q-fever agent in these ticks, a nested PCR technique targeting the 16S rDNA of Coxiella burnetii was used. A collection of 450 ticks from the animal shelter were screened via nested PCR and 144 (32%) were positives. The positive PCR products were also confirmed by DNA sequencing. This is the first report of the prevalence of the Q-fever agent in ticks from an animal shelter. The results are significant to public health. Highly infected ticks in animal shelters may transmit the Q-fever agent to humans via its feces, excretion, or by biting.

Research Data and Supplementary Material