The purpose of this study was to do a serological survey on three rickettsial species: Rickettsia rickettsii and Rickettsia parkeri, two species of the spotted fever group (SFG) that are considered to be great importance for public health; and Rickettsia bellii, a species of unknown pathogenicity that infects a variety of human-biting ticks. Serum samples from 273 dogs were tested using the indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). A total of 52 samples (19.04%) were seropositive for at least one of the three Rickettsia spp. antigens. Thirty-eight (73.07%), twelve (23.07%) and one (1.92%) of these dogs showed homologous reactions to R. bellii, R. rickettsii and R. parkeri, respectively. Our results showed that the seroprevalence of Rickettsia spp. was relatively low. However, the positive serological tests indicated that these dogs had become infected by these agents at some point in their lives. Lastly, our study adds to the previous knowledge on the epidemiology of rickettsiosis in the state of Goiás by doing the first record of detection of anti-R. rickettsii, R. parkeri and R. bellii antibodies by IFA among dogs, thus indicating that these agents may be circulating in the dog population analyzed.
Rickettsia rickettsii; Rickettsia parkeri; IFA; Goiânia; Brazilian cerrado; tick-borne disease