Epidemiology of Brazilian spotted fever in the Atlantic Forest, state of São Paulo, Brazil

Maria Ogrzewalska, Danilo G Saraiva, Jonas Moraes-Filho, Thiago F Martins, Francisco B Costa, Adriano Pinter, Marcelo B Labruna
Parasitology 2012, 139 (10): 1283-300
The tick-borne bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii is the aetiological agent of Brazilian spotted fever (BSF). The present study evaluated tick infestations on wild and domestic animals, and the rickettsial infection in these animals and their ticks in 7 forest areas adjacent to human communities in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area (SPMA). The results were compared to ecological traits of each sampled area. Two main tick species, Amblyomma aureolatum and Rhipicephalus sanguineus, were collected from dogs. The major ticks found on small mammals and birds were Ixodes loricatus and Amblyomma longirostre, respectively. Both anti-R. rickettsii antibodies and R. rickettsii-infected ticks were detected on dogs from only 2 areas in the southern part of the SPMA, which were considered to be endemic for BSF; the remaining 5 areas were considered to be non-endemic. Ecologically, the BSF-endemic areas clearly differed from the non-endemic areas by the presence of significantly more degraded forest patches in the former. The present results corroborate historical observations that have indicated that all human cases of BSF in the SPMA were contracted in the southern part of this metropolitan area. However, not all forest patches in the southern part of the SPMA were shown to be associated with BSF endemism.

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