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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Rickettsial infection in ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) collected on birds in southern Brazil

Richard C Pacheco, Márcia Arzua, Fernanda A Nieri-Bastos, Jonas Moraes-Filho, Arlei Marcili, Leonardo J Richtzenhain, Darci M Barros-Battesti, Marcelo B Labruna
Journal of Medical Entomology 2012, 49 (3): 710-6
22679880
The aim of the study was to evaluate rickettsial infection in ticks from wild birds of the Semidecidual and Atlantic Rainforest remnants of three municipalities of the State of Paraná, southern Brazil. Overall, 53 larvae and nymphs collected from birds were checked for the presence of Rickettsia DNA by molecular tests. Five tick species were tested: Amblyomma aureolatum (Pallas), Amblyomma calcaratum Neumann, Amblyomma longirostre (Koch), Amblyomma ovale Koch, and Amblyomma parkeri Fonseca and Aragão. A. longirostre ticks were infected with the spotted fever group agents Rickettsia amblyommii strain AL (32.3% infection rate) and Rickettsia parkeri strain NOD (5.9% infection rate). A new rickettsial genotype was detected in the tick A. parkeri (50% infection rate), which had never been reported to be infected by rickettsiae. Through phylogenetic analysis, this new genotype, here designated as strain ApPR, grouped in a cluster composed by different strains of Rickettsia africae, Rickettsia sibirica, and R. parkeri. We consider strain ApPR to be a new genotype of R. parkeri. This study reports for the first time rickettsial infection in ticks from birds in southern Brazil. The role of migrating birds in the dispersal of these rickettsial strains should be considered in ecological studies of spotted fever group agents in Brazil.

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