Genetic diversity, population structure and rickettsias in Amblyomma ovale in areas of epidemiological interest for spotted fever in Brazil

K Bitencourth, M Amorim, S V de Oliveira, C M Voloch, G S Gazêta
Medical and Veterinary Entomology 2019 February 11
Amblyomma ovale (Ixodida: Ixodidae) Koch, 1844 is widely-reported in the neotropical region and is the main vector in the epidemic cycle of Rickettsia parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest, a bioagent of a milder variety of spotted fever (SF). Because species with wide geographical distributions are known to exhibit variations that influence their vectorial capacity, the present study aimed to analyze genetic diversity and rickettsia infection of A. ovale collected during the investigation and surveillance of SF cases in the Cerrado and Atlantic rainforest (ARF) Brazilian biomes. Samples had their DNA extracted, amplified and sequenced for 16S rDNA, 12S rDNA, cytochrome oxidase subunit II and D-loop markers for tick analyses, as well as the gltA, htrA, ompA and ompB genes for rickettsia detection. Between 11 and 33 A. ovale haplotypes were identified, all of them exclusive to areas within individual analyzed biome areas. The A. ovale populations appeared to be structured, with Cluster I restricted to Cerrado + ARF isolated in Caatinga and Cluster II to ARF continuous area. Rickettsia bellii, R. parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest (first report for Goiás state, Cerrado), Rickettsia asemboensis (first record in A. ovale for Brazil) and Rickettsia felis (first detection in this ixodid) were identified. A. ovale clusters were not associated with rickettsia types.

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