Bacteria of the Rickettsia genus are agents of Brazilian Spotted Fever (BSF), a zoonotic disease which is difficult to diagnose, evolves quickly and can result in death. Antibodies against Rickettsia spp. in horses were studied, by means of Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay (IFAT ≥64), in 150 blood samples taken from animals in two Santa Catarina mesoregions (Planalto Serrano and Vale do Itajaí). The overall occurrence of Rickettsia spp. antibodies in horses was 18.66%, with cross-reactivity occurring in all positive samples for at least two of the species tested. Separately, according to the species, 25 (16.66%) samples were positive for R. rickettsii, 15 (10%) for R. parkeri, 22 (14.66%) for R. amblyommii, 23 (15.33%) for R. rhipicephali, 16 (10.66%) for R. bellii and 19 (12.66%) for R. felis. Only two animals resulted in a conclusive serodiagnosis, one for R. bellii and the other for R. rickettsii, at maximum dilutions of 1:4096 and 1:512, respectively. The occurrence of antibodies against Rickettsia spp. in horses from two mesoregions in the state of Santa Catarina indicates the movement of BSF agents in these sentinel animals and confirms the importance of studying spotted fever in the state of Santa Catarina.
Brazilian spotted fever; Rickettsia spp; IFAT; horses; Santa Catarina