Altitudinal Assessment of Amblyomma aureolatum and Amblyomma ovale (Acari: Ixodidae), Vectors of Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis in the State of São Paulo, Brazil

Jonata M Barbieri, Christiane M B M Da Rocha, Fábio Raphael P Bruhn, Dênis L Cardoso, Adriano Pinter, Marcelo B Labruna
Journal of Medical Entomology 2015, 52 (5): 1170-4
Amblyomma aureolatum (Pallas) and Amblyomma ovale Koch are common ectoparasites of domestic dogs in São Paulo state, southeastern Brazil, where they are vectors of distinct spotted fever group rickettsioses, one caused by Rickettsia rickettsii (transmitted by A. aureolatum), and the other caused by Rickettsia sp. strain Atlantic rainforest (transmitted by A. ovale). For the present study, we performed an altitudinal assessment of all 1992-2012 records of A. aureolatum and A. ovale retrieved from a tick collection. The municipalities with A. ovale records presented significantly (P < 0.05) lower altitude than the ones with A. aureolatum records; the higher the altitude, the lower the chances for the occurrence of A. ovale and the greater the likelihood for the occurrence of A. aureolatum. Regarding A. aureolatum, the chances of finding it in municipalities between 101 and 700 m are nine times higher than in municipalities at ≤ 100 m, or 31.5 times higher in municipalities above 700 m, when compared with municipalities at ≤ 100 m. The reverse was observed for A. ovale, which had its odds ratio diminishing at higher altitudes. These findings have a major role to public health, as A. aureolatum is associated with the transmission of a highly lethal spotted fever (caused by R. rickettsii), whereas A. ovale is associated with the transmission of a milder spotted fever (caused by Rickettsia sp. strain Atlantic rainforest, a R. parkeri-like agent), both in the state of São Paulo.

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