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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011 Feb;17(2):176-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03224.x.

Molecular detection of Rickettsia massiliae, Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae and Rickettsia conorii israelensis in ticks from Israel.

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Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.


Rickettsioses are recognized as important emerging vector-borne infections of humans worldwide. Previous reports documented the presence of two spotted fever group rickettsiae in Israel, Rickettsia conorii israelensis and Rickettsia felis. The aim of this study was to characterize the diversity of rickettsiae in ticks collected from vegetation and the ground, from different parts of Israel. Non-engorged questing adult ticks were collected from 13 localities. A total of 131 tick pools, 83 of Rhipicephalus turanicus and 48 of Rhipicephalus sanguineus (each with 2-10 ticks per pool), were included in this study. In addition, 13 Hyalomma sp. ticks were collected. The ticks were molecularly screened for rickettsiae, targeting the citrate synthase (gltA) and the outer membrane protein A (ompA) gene loci. Rickettsia massiliae ompA DNA (100% sequence identity; 180 bp) was detected in 32 Rh. turanicus and 12 Rh. sanguineus tick pools. R. conorii israelensis was detected in three Rh. sanguineus pools. Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae ompA DNA (100% sequence identity; 182 bp) was found in one Hyalomma tick. This study reports the first detection of R. massiliae and R. sibirica mongolitimonae in ticks from Israel. This is the first report describing the presence of these human pathogens in the Middle East.

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