Wildlife Disease and Zoonotics


Date of this Version



This publication was produced and distributed by the USDA-CSREES Regional Integrated Pest Management Centers in cooperation with the National Plant Diagnostic Network, The Center for Disease Control and the Land Grant Universities. For more information about the development of this pest alert or to obtain copies, contact Susan Ratcliffe at sratcliffe@uiuc.edu or by phone at 217-333-9656.


The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Acari: Ixodidae), feeds primarily on dogs and until recently was not known to vector Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). In 2003–2004, fourteen cases of RMSF in humans occurred in eastern Arizona in the absence of known vectors, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, and American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. However, health officials found brown dog ticks to be very abundant in areas associated with human cases, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implicated that the brown dog tick was responsible for transmitting RMSF. Brown dog ticks occur throughout the United States and the world. These ticks are most common in warm temperate climates. The common brown dog tick cannot survive outdoors in northern temperate latitudes, but it is found wherever dogs are housed in heated buildings.