Characterization of Rickettsia spp. circulating in a silent peri-urban focus for Brazilian spotted fever in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil

The present study was intended to characterize Rickettsia spp. circulating in arthropod vectors in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil, by PCR and to investigate the presence of antibodies against the spotted fever Rickettsiae group (SFRG) in dogs and horses. 2,610 arthropods were collected and taxonomically identified. DNA samples obtained from these vectors were submitted to PCR and cycle-sequenced. Ctenocephalides and Amblyomma cajennense showed sequences presenting 100.0% homology with R. felis. A sequence obtained from Rhipicephalus sanguineus showed 99.0% homology with R. felis, and a sequence from A. cajennense showed 97.0% homology with R. honei and R. rickettsii. Canine (73) and equine (18) serum samples were tested by indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) using R. rickettsii antigen. Only three of the equine sera tested (17.0%) had positive antibody titers. Molecular detection of rickettsiae species potentially pathogenic to humans in arthropod vectors and the presence of seroreactivity to SFRG in horses show the risk of transmission of rickettsiosis in this area and the need to maintain continuous epidemiological surveillance for rickettsial diseases.

Rickettsia; Rickettsia Infectious; Spotted Fever; Arthropod Vectors

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