Ticks are infectious-disease vectors par excellence; one was recently reported to simultaneously bear seven different pathogens (25). Although general statements about which agents occur within which species can be made, epidemio-logic studies show regional variation (26,27). Excepting Africans who sleep on the floor, humans interact with hard (ixodid) ticks far more often than they do soft (argasid) ticks. Hard ticks embed into skin, through which they feed for 3 to 10 days; soft ticks attach lightly and feed for about 20 minutes.

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