Bruno S Milagres 1 , Amanda F Padilha , Rafael M Barcelos , Gabriel G Gomes , Carlos E Montandon , Dárlen C H Pena , Fernanda A Nieri Bastos , Iara Silveira , Richard Pacheco , Marcelo B Labruna , Donald H Bouyer , Renata N Freitas , David H Walker , Cláudio L Mafra , Márcio A M Galvao
The aim of this study was to understand the current epidemiology of rickettsial diseases in two rickettsial-endemic regions in Brazil. In the municipalities of Pingo D'Agua and Santa Cruz do Escalvado, among serum samples obtained from horses and dogs, reactivity by immunofluorescent assay against spotted fever group rickettsiae was verified. In some serum samples from opossums (Didelphis aurita) captured in Santa Cruz do Escalvado, serologic response against rickettsiae was also verified. Polymerase chain reaction identified rickettsiae only in ticks and fleas obtained in Santa Cruz do Escalvado. Rickettsiae in samples had 100% sequence homology with Rickettsia felis. These results highlight the importance of marsupials in maintenance of the sylvatic cycle of rickettsial disease and potential integration with the domestic cycle. Our data also support the importance of horses and dogs as sentinels in monitoring circulation of rickettsiae in an urban area.