In vitro isolation from Amblyomma ovale (Acari: Ixodidae) and ecological aspects of the Atlantic rainforest Rickettsia, the causative agent of a novel spotted fever rickettsiosis in Brazil

M P J Szabó, F A Nieri-Bastos, M G Spolidorio, T F Martins, A M Barbieri, M B Labruna
Parasitology 2013, 140 (6): 719-28
Recently, a novel human rickettsiosis, namely Atlantic rainforest spotted fever, was described in Brazil. We herein report results of a survey led around the index case in an Atlantic rainforest reserve in Peruibe municipality, southeastern Brazil. A Rickettsia parkeri-like agent (Rickettsia sp. Atlantic rainforest genotype) and Ricketsia bellii were isolated from adult Amblyomma ovale ticks collected from dogs. Molecular evidence of infection with strain Atlantic rainforest was obtained for 30 (12.9%) of 232 A. ovale adult ticks collected from dogs. As many as 88.6% of the 35 examined dogs had anti-Rickettsia antibodies, with endpoint titres at their highest to R. parkeri. High correlation among antibody titres in dogs, A. ovale infestations, and access to rainforest was observed. Amblyomma ovale subadults were found predominantly on a rodent species (Euryoryzomys russatus). From 17 E. russatus tested, 6 (35.3%) displayed anti-Rickettsia antibodies, with endpoint titres highest to R. parkeri. It is concluded that Atlantic rainforest genotype circulates in this Atlantic rainforest area at relatively high levels. Dogs get infected when bitten by A. ovale ticks in the forest, and carry infected ticks to households. The role of E. russatus as an amplifier host of Rickettsia to A. ovale ticks deserves investigation.

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