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Detection of Rickettsia rickettsii in the tick Amblyomma cajennense in a new Brazilian spotted fever-endemic area in the state of Minas Gerais

Elizângela Guedes, Romário C Leite, Márcia C A Prata, Richard C Pacheco, David H Walker, Marcelo B Labruna
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 2005, 100 (8): 841-5
16444414
The present study evaluated rickettsial infection in Amblyomma spp. ticks collected in a farm in Coronel Pacheco, a Brazilian spotted fever (BSF) endemic area. A total of 78 A. cajennense and 78 A. dubitatum free-living adult ticks were collected and tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting a fragment of the rickettsial gene gltA. Only one pool of three A. cajennense ticks showed the expected product by PCR. This pool was further tested by PCR using sets of primers targeting the rickettsial genes gltA, ompA, and ompB. All reactions yielded the expected bands that by sequencing, showed 100% identity to the corresponding sequences of the Rickettsia rickettsii gene fragments gltA (1063-bp), ompA (457-bp), and ompB (720-bp). The minimal infection rate of R. rickettii in the A. cajennense population was 1.28% (at least one infected tick within 78 ticks). The present study showed molecular evidence for the presence of R. rickettsii in A. cajennense from a BSF-endemic area in Coronel Pacheco, state of Minas Gerais. Although R. rickettsii has been previously reported infecting A. cajennense ticks in Brazil and other Latin American countries, the present study performed the first molecular characterization of R. rickettsii from the tick A. cajennense.

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