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      Rickettsia species infecting Amblyomma ticks from an area endemic for Brazilian spotted fever in Brazil Translated title: Rickettsia infectando carrapatos Amblyomma de uma área endêmica para febre maculosa Brasileira no Brasil

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          Abstract

          This study reports rickettsial infection in Amblyomma cajennense and Amblyomma dubitatum ticks collected in an area of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where Brazilian spotted fever is considered endemic. For this purpose, 400 adults of A. cajenennse and 200 adults of A. dubitatum, plus 2,000 larvae and 2,000 nymphs of Amblyomma spp. were collected from horses and from the vegetation. The ticks were tested for rickettsial infection through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocols targeting portions of three rickettsial genes (gltA, ompA, and ompB). Only two free-living A. cajennense adult ticks, and four pools of free-living Amblyomma spp. nymphs were shown to contain rickettsial DNA. PCR products from the two A. cajennense adult ticks were shown to be identical to corresponding sequences of the Rickettsia rickettsii strain Sheila Smith. DNA sequences of gltA-PCR products of the four nymph pools of Amblyomma spp. revealed a new genotype, which was shown to be closest (99.4%) to the corresponding sequence of Rickettsia tamurae. Our findings of two R. rickettsii-infected A. cajennense ticks corroborate the endemic status of the study area, where human cases of BSF were reported recently. In addition, we report for the first time a new Rickettsia genotype in Brazil.

          Translated abstract

          Este trabalho relata infecção por Rickettsia em carrapatos Amblyomma cajennense e Amblyomma dubitatum, colhidos numa área do Estado de Minas Gerais, onde a febre maculosa brasileira (FMB) é considerada endêmica. Para esse estudo, 400 adultos de A. cajennense, 200 adultos de A. dubitatum, 2.000 larvas e 2.000 ninfas de Amblyomma spp. foram colhidas de equinos e da vegetação. Os carrapatos foram testados para infecção por rickettsia através de reação em cadeia pela polimerase (PCR) direcionada a fragmentos de três genes de rickettsia (gltA, ompA, e ompB). Apenas 2 A. cajennense adultos de vida livre, e 4 grupos de ninfas de Amblyomma spp. continham DNA de rickettsia. Os produtos de PCR dos dois adultos de A. cajennense foram idênticos às sequências correspondentes de Rickettsia rickettsii cepa Sheila Smith. Sequências de DNA dos produtos provenientes dos quatro grupos de ninfas de Amblyomma spp. revelaram um novo genótipo, próximo (99,4%) à sequência correspondente de Rickettsia tamurae. Neste trabalho foram achados 2 carrapatos A. cajennense infectados por R. rickettsii que corroboram o caráter endêmico da área de estudo, em que casos de FMB ocorreram recentemente. Em adição, foi reportado, pela primeira vez, um novo genótipo de Rickettsia no Brasil.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Ecology of rickettsia in South America.

          Until the year 2000, only three Rickettsia species were known in South America: (i) Rickettsia rickettsii, transmitted by the ticks Amblyomma cajennense, and Amblyomma aureolatum, reported in Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil, where it is the etiological agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever; (ii) Rickettsia prowazekii, transmitted by body lice and causing epidemic typhus in highland areas, mainly in Peru; (iii) Rickettsia typhi, transmitted by fleas and causing endemic typhus in many countries. During this new century, at least seven other rickettsiae were reported in South America: Rickettsia felis infecting fleas and the tick-associated agents Rickettsia parkeri, Rickettsia massiliae, Candidatus"Rickettsia amblyommii,"Rickettsia bellii, Rickettsia rhipicephali, and Candidatus"Rickettsia andeanae." Among these other rickettsiae, only R. felis, R. parkeri, and R. massiliae are currently recognized as human pathogens. R. rickettsii is a rare agent in nature, infecting < or =1% individuals in a few tick populations. Contrastingly, R. parkeri, Candidatus"R. amblyommii," R. rhipicephali, and R. bellii are usually found infecting 10 to 100% individuals in different tick populations. Despite rickettsiae being transmitted transovarially through tick generations, low infection rates for R. rickettsii are possibly related to pathogenic effect of R. rickettsii for ticks, as shown for A. aureolatum under laboratory conditions. This scenario implies that R. rickettsii needs amplifier vertebrate hosts for its perpetuation in nature, in order to create new lines of infected ticks (horizontal transmission). In Brazil, capybaras and opossums are the most probable amplifier hosts for R. rickettsii, among A. cajennense ticks, and small rodents for A. aureolatum.
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            Rickettsia species infecting Amblyomma cooperi ticks from an area in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, where Brazilian spotted fever is endemic.

            Owing to the potential role of the tick Amblyomma cooperi in the enzootic cycle of Rickettsia rickettsii, the etiologic agent of Brazilian spotted fever (BSF), this study evaluated infection by Rickettsia species in A. cooperi ticks collected from an area in Brazil where BSF is endemic. Among a total of 40 A. cooperi adult ticks collected in an area of BSF endemicity in the state of São Paulo, PCR analysis detected DNA of Rickettsia bellii in 16 ticks (40%), and 3 other ticks (7.5%) were positive for a previously unidentified spotted-fever-group (SFG) rickettsia. Cultivation in Vero cell cultures by the shell vial technique with individual A. cooperi ticks resulted in two isolates of R. bellii and one isolate genotypically characterized as an SFG rickettsia. The two R. bellii isolates were established in Vero cell cultures in the laboratory and were confirmed to be R. bellii by molecular analysis of the gltA and 17-kDa protein-encoding genes and by electron microscopic analysis. The SFG rickettsial isolate could not be stably passaged in cell culture in the laboratory, but molecular analysis of early passages suggested that it was closely related to Rickettsia parkeri, Rickettsia africae, and Rickettsia sibirica. These results do not support the role of A. cooperi in the ecology of R. rickettsii in the area studied, but they add two more species of rickettsiae to the poorly developed list of species occurring in ticks in South America.
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              Ticks (Ixodidae) on humans in South America.

              Twenty eight species of Ixodidae have been found on man in South America (21 Amblyomma, 1 Boophilus, 2 Dermacentor, 2 Haemaphysalis, 1 Ixodes and 1 Rhipicephalus species). Most of them are rarely found on man. However, three species frequently parasitize humans in restricted areas of Argentina (A. neumanni reported from 46 localities), Uruguay (A. triste from 21 sites) and Argentina-Brazil (A. parvum from 27 localities). The most widespread ticks are A. cajennense (134 localities in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela), A. ovale (37 localities in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela) and A. oblongoguttatum (28 sites in Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela). Amblyomma aureolatum (18 localities in Argentina, Brazil, French Guiana and Paraguay), A. cajennense, and A. triste are vectors of rickettsioses to man in South America. A better understanding of the respective roles of these and other tick species in transmitting pathogens to humans will require further local investigations. Amblyomma ticks should be the main subjects of these studies followed by species of Boophilus, Dermacentor, Haemaphysalis and Rhipicephalus species. In contrast with North America, Europe and Asia, ticks of the genus Ixodes do not appear to be major players in transmitting diseases to human. Indeed, there is only one record of an Ixodes collected while feeding on man for all South America.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Journal
                rbpv
                Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária
                Rev. Bras. Parasitol. Vet.
                Colégio Brasileiro de Parasitologia Veterinária (Jaboticabal )
                1984-2961
                December 2011
                : 20
                : 4
                : 308-311
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Brazil
                [2 ] Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso Brazil
                [3 ] Universidade de São Paulo Brazil
                Article
                S1984-29612011000400009
                10.1590/S1984-29612011000400009
                Product
                Product Information: website
                Categories
                PARASITOLOGY
                VETERINARY SCIENCES

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