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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2007 Summer;7(2):221-7.

Ehrlichia species in Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks in Cameroon.

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Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon.


Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species are tick-transmitted obligately intracellular bacteria that commonly cause disease in dogs worldwide. In addition to causing disease in canines, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum are responsible for emerging and life-threatening human zoonoses in the United States. We previously reported a high prevalence of E. canis infection in Cameroonian dogs based on serologic and molecular evidence. This study was undertaken to determine the Ehrlichia species (E. canis, E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii) present in Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks (n = 92) collected from those dogs (n = 51). Ehrlichial DNA was detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 28 (30%) unengorged R. sanguineus ticks attached to dogs. E. canis, the causative agent of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, was detected in 19 (21%) ticks from 15 dogs, E. ewingii was detected in six (6%) ticks from 6 dogs, and E. chaffeensis, the etiologic agent of human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, was detected in 4 (4%) ticks. Notably, 2 ticks were coinfected with E. chaffeensis and E. canis, one tick with E. canis and E. ewingii, and one tick with E. chaffeensis and E. ewingii. These findings further support our previous conclusion that multiple Ehrlichia species are present in Cameroon and identify R. sanguineus ticks primarily infected with E. canis, but suggest that they may be infected with and transmit other ehrlichial agents in Cameroon, potentially to humans.

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