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J Vector Ecol. 2005 Dec;30(2):310-5.

Bartonella and Rickettsia in fleas and lice from mammals in South Carolina, U.S.A.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Mailstop G-13, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


Species in the genera Bartonella and Rickettsia are vector-borne pathogens of humans and domestic animals. The natural reservoirs and enzootic transmission cycles of these bacteria are poorly known in South Carolina. Thirteen species of lice and fleas were collected from urban animals and screened for the presence of Bartonella and Rickettsia by PCR amplification using genus-specific primers. Bartonella henselae was present in cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) from Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) and a novel genotype of Bartonella was detected in Orchopeas howardi from an eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). We detected R. typhi and three novel genotypes Rickettsia in other species of fleas and lice. Rickettsia typhi, the causative agent of murine typhus, was detected in two pools of lice (Enderleinellus marmotae) from the woodchuck (Marmota monax). Cat fleas harbored one of two novel genotypes of Rickettsia. A third novel Rickettsia was detected in Orchopeas howardi from an eastern gray squirrel.

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