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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2009 Feb;9(1):73-8. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2007.0227. Epub 2008 Oct 10.

New epidemiological data on Brazilian spotted fever in an endemic area of the state of São Paulo, Brazil.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The present work evaluated rickettsial infection in dogs and their ticks in an area endemic for Brazilian spotted fever (BSF) in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, Brazil, where the tick Amblyomma aureolatum was presumed to be the vector of the disease. Ticks were collected on dogs from 185 houses, encompassing single infestations by Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Amblyomma aureolatum, Amblyomma longirostre, or Amblyomma sp. in dogs from 60 (32.4%), 77 (41.6%), 2 (1.1%), and 25 (13.5%) houses, respectively; 19 (10.3%) houses had dogs with mixed infestations by R. sanguineus and A. aureolatum; 1 (0.5%) house had dogs with infestations by A. aureolatum and A. longirostre; and 1 (0.5%) house had dogs with infestations by R. sanguineus and Amblyomma sp. Overall, A. aureolatum was present in dogs from 97 (52.4%) houses, and R. sanguineus in dogs from 80 (43.2%) houses. A total of 287 ticks (130 A. aureolatum and 157 R. sanguineus) infesting dogs from 98 houses were selected for testing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting rickettsial genes. Overall, 3.1% of the A. aureolatum ticks were infected by Rickettsia bellii, and 1.3% of the R. sanguineus were infected by Ricketttsii rickettsii. For serology, we selected 23 dogs living in and in the vicinity of the house where the R. rickettsii-infected ticks were collected. The indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test detected antibodies reactive with R. rickettsii in sera from 16 (69.6%) dogs, with titers ranging from 256 to 32,768. It is established that Amblyomma aureolatum is a vector of R. rickettsii in the São Paulo metropolitan area, but our results highlight for the first time in Brazil, a possible role of R. sanguineus in the epidemiology of R. rickettsii, corroborating previous findings in Mexico and the United States, where R. sanguineus has been implicated in the transmission of R. rickettsii to humans.

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