Infection by spotted fever rickettsiae in people, dogs, horses and ticks in Londrina, Parana State, Brazil

R S Toledo, K Tamekuni, M F Silva Filho, V B Haydu, A R M Barbieri, A C Hiltel, R C Pacheco, M B Labruna, J S Dumler, O Vidotto
Zoonoses and Public Health 2011, 58 (6): 416-23
Spotted fever is a disease caused by bacteria from the genus Rickettsia of the spotted fever group (SFG). Rickettsia rickettsii is likely the main agent of Brazilian spotted fever (BSF). With the objective of gathering information on the circulation of SFG rickettsiae in Londrina, Parana state, ticks from dogs and horses and also blood from dogs, horses and humans were collected in a neighbourhood of the city which presented potential for circulation of rickettsiae between hosts and vectors. Amblyomma cajennense, Dermacentor nitens, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks were subjected to Polymerase Chain Reaction targeting a fragment of the Rickettsia gltA gene. This specific gene encodes the enzyme citrate synthase of Rickettsia spp., and results on all ticks were negative. Human and animal sera were tested by Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay in which R. rickettsii and R. parkeri were used as antigens. Sera from 4.7% human, 2.7% canine and 38.5% equine were positive for R. rickettsii. For R. parkeri, 0.9% human, 2.7% canine and 11.5% equine samples were positive. All samples reactive to R. parkeri also reacted to R. rickettsii. An epidemiological questionnaire was applied, but there were no statistically significant results. Comparison of our serological results with previous studies in Brazil, among BSF endemic and non-endemic areas, indicates that there is no established rickettsial infection in the study area, a statement corroborated with our molecular analysis. Nonetheless, as humans of the present study are highly exposed to tick infestations, health education within the population is needed to obtain efficient tick control.

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