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J Clin Microbiol. Dec 1991; 29(12): 2838–2842.
PMCID: PMC270443

Ehrlichia chaffeensis, a new species associated with human ehrlichiosis.


The bacterial 16S rRNA genes from blood samples of two patients with human ehrlichiosis and from an isolate recovered from one of the patients were amplified by using the polymerase chain reaction. The amplimers were then cloned and sequenced. The 16S rRNA gene sequence was also determined for Ehrlichia canis (two strains), E. equi, E. phagocytophila (two strains), and E. sennetsu (two strains). These sequences, along with a previously published 16S rRNA gene sequence of E. risticii, were compared. The 16S rRNA gene sequences were identical for all three sources of the human ehrlichiosis agent. The sequence comparisons indicate that the human ehrlichiosis agent is a new species most closely related to E. canis (98.2%) and more distantly related to other Ehrlichia spp. We propose that this species be named Ehrlichia chaffeensis sp. nov., with the Arkansas strain as the type strain.

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