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Vet Parasitol. 2009 Apr 6;161(1-2):116-21. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.12.010. Epub 2008 Dec 13.

Experimental infection of capybaras Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris by Rickettsia rickettsii and evaluation of the transmission of the infection to ticks Amblyomma cajennense.

Author information

1
SUCEN - Superintendência de Controle de Endemias, Laboratório de Carrapatos, Mogi Guaçu, SP, Brazil.

Abstract

The present study evaluated the infection of capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) by Rickettsia rickettsii and their role as amplifier hosts for horizontal transmission of R. rickettsii to Amblyomma cajennense ticks. Two groups of two capybaras each were evaluated: on day 0, group 1 (G1) was infested by R. rickettsii-infected ticks, and group 2 (G2) was inoculated intraperitoneally with R. rickettsii. Two additional groups were control groups, not exposed to R. rickettsii, being CG1 group the control of G1, and CG2 group the control of G2. Capybara rectal temperature was measured daily. Blood samples were collected every 3 days during 30 days, and used to (i) inoculate guinea pigs intraperitoneally; (ii) DNA extraction followed by real-time PCR targeting the rickettsial gene gltA; (iii) hematology; (iv) detection of R. rickettsii-reactive antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Blood was also collected from G1 capybaras every approximately 10-30 days till the 146th day, to be tested by serology. Capybaras were infested by uninfected A. cajennense nymphs from the 3rd to the 18th day. Engorged nymphs were collected, allowed to molt to adults in an incubator. Thereafter, the subsequent flat ticks were tested by PCR. All G1 and G2 capybaras became infected by R. rickettsii, as demonstrated by guinea pig inoculation and seroconversion, but they showed no fever. Rickettsemia was continually detected from the 6th (G2 capybaras) or 9th (G1 capybaras) to the 18th day post inoculation or infestation with R. rickettsii-infected ticks. A total of 20-25% and 30-35% of the flat ticks previously fed on G1 and G2 capybaras, respectively, became infected by R. rickettsii. The study demonstrated that R. rickettsii was capable to infect capybaras without causing clinical illness, inducing rickettsemia capable to cause infection in guinea pigs and ticks. Our results indicate that capybaras act as amplifier host of R. rickettsii for A. cajennense ticks in Brazil.

PMID:
19147293
DOI:
10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.12.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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