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Serological survey of Rickettsia sp. in horses and dogs in a non-endemic area in Brazil

Fernanda Gonçalves Batista, Daniella Matos da Silva, Kerriel Thandile Green, Louise Boulsfield de Lorenzi Tezza, Sâmara Pereira de Vasconcelos, Suelen Graziele Soares de Carvalho, Iara Silveira, Jonas Moraes-Filho, Marcelo Bahia Labruna, Fernanda Silva Fortes, Marcelo Beltrão Molento
Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Parasitology 2010, 19 (4): 205-9
21184695
Brazilian Spotted Fever (BSF) is a lethal rickettsiosis in humans caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii, and is endemic in some areas of Brazil. Horses and dogs are part of the disease's life cycle and they may also serve as sentinel animals in epidemiological studies. The first human BSF case in the State of Paraná was reported in 2005. The present study was conducted in the municipality of Almirante Tamandaré, where no previous case of BSF was reported. Serum samples were collected from 71 horses and 20 dogs from nine properties in the area. Ticks were also collected from these animals. All farmers completed a questionnaire about their knowledge of BSF and animal health management. Serum samples were analyzed by indirect immunofluorescent-antibody assay (IFA) using R. rickettsii and R. parkeri as antigens. Ticks were analyzed by PCR for Rickettsia sp., and all of them were PCR-negative. Six horses (8.45%) and 4 dogs (20%) were identified as seropositive. Farmers were not aware of the correlation between the presence of ticks and risk of BSF. Although a non-endemic area, Almirante Tamandaré is a vulnerable environment for BSF and effective tick control measures are required.

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