Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, is a re-emerging tick-borne zoonosis in North America, with hundreds of human fatalities in multiple outbreaks in northern Mexico and the southwestern US in the past few decades. Free-roaming dogs are key because they are reservoirs for the pathogen and the main hosts of the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), which vectors RMSF in this region. Because coyotes (Canis latrans) can be infected with R. rickettsii and infested with Rh. sanguineus, we hypothesized that space sharing among dogs and coyotes could enhance disease risks. In summer 2021, we captured and sampled 11 coyotes at two sites in Baja California, Mexico, near population centers with human cases of RMSF, and fitted seven individuals with GPS logging collars. We also tested tissue samples, sera, and ectoparasites for DNA of R. rickettsii with PCR and used serology to detect antibodies to R. rickettsii. Finally, we deployed an array of cameras to document dog-coyote interactions. Mean home range size was 40.37 km2. Both GPS and camera data showed considerable home range overlap both between individual coyotes and between coyotes and dogs. Coyotes were active in areas where dogs occur including the domestic interface surrounding human settlements. Although none of our samples were positive for R. rickettsii on PCR, 72.7% (8/11) of the samples were seropositive with titers ≥64. Our data confirm shared space use and risk of shared parasites and disease between coyotes and dogs.

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