Rickettsial infection in Amblyomma nodosum ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) from Brazil

M Ogrzewalska, R C Pacheco, A Uezu, L J Richtzenhain, F Ferreira, M B Labruna
Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 2009, 103 (5): 413-25
The rickettsial infections in 174 Amblyomma nodosum found on passeriform birds in the Atlantic forest, eastern Brazil, have recently been evaluated. Rickettsiae were successfully isolated from two ticks, using cultures of Vero cells. Both isolates were molecularly characterised, using the rickettsial genes gltA and htrA and, when possible, also ompA and ompB. Portions of the gltA and htrA genes from one of the rickettsial isolates were found be closely match the corresponding GenBank sequences for Rickettsia bellii, with 99.9% and 100% homology, respectively. This isolate was named R. bellii strain Pontal. Portions of the gltA, htrA and ompB genes from the second isolate most closely matched the corresponding sequences of R. parkeri, whereas a portion of the ompA gene from this isolate was closest to the relevant sequence of Rickettsia sp. strain COOPERI (which has been considered to be a strain of R. parkeri in Brazil). The second isolate was named R. parkeri strain NOD. Further investigation of the 172 ticks from which isolates were not recovered revealed R. parkeri strain NOD in 40 and R. bellii strain Pontal in nine, giving overall infection prevalences of 23.6% (41/174) and 5.7% (10/174), respectively. This appears to be the first report of R. bellii and R. parkeri in A. nodosum.

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