Rickettsia spp. among wild mammals and their respective ectoparasites in Pantanal wetland, Brazil

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de Sousa, Keyla Carstens Marques [UNESP]
Herrera, Heitor Miraglia
Rocha, Fabiana Lopes
Costa, Francisco Borges
Martins, Thiago Fernandes
Labruna, Marcelo Bahia
Machado, Rosangela Zacarias [UNESP]
André, Marcos Rogério [UNESP]

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The genus Rickettsia comprises obligatory intracellular bacteria, well known to cause zoonotic diseases around the world. The present work aimed to investigate the occurrence of Rickettsia spp. in wild animals, domestic dogs and their respective ectoparasites in southern Pantanal region, central-western Brazil, by molecular and serological techniques. Between August 2013 and March 2015, serum, whole blood and/or spleen samples were collected from 31 coatis, 78 crab-eating foxes, seven ocelots, 42 dogs, 110 wild rodents, and 30 marsupials. Serum samples from canids, felids, rodents and marsupials were individually tested by indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) in order to detect IgG antibodies to Rickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia parkeri and Rickettsia amblyommatis. DNA samples from mammals and ectoparasites were submitted to a multiplex qPCR assay in order to detect and quantify spotted fever group (SFG) and typhus group (TG) rickettsiae and Orientia tsutsugamushi. Positive samples in qPCR assays were submitted to conventional PCR assays targeting gltA, ompA, ompB and htrA genes, followed by sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. The ticks collected (1582) from animals belonged to the species Amblyomma sculptum, Amblyomma parvum, Amblyomma ovale, Amblyomma tigrinum, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato and Amblyomma auricularium. Overall, 27 (64.2%) dogs, 59 (75.6%) crab-eating foxes and six (85.7%) ocelots were seroreactive (titer ≥ 64) to at least one Rickettsia species. For 17 (40.4%) dogs, 33 (42.3%) crab-eating foxes, and two (33.3%) ocelots, homologous reactions to R. amblyommatis or a closely related organism were suggested. One hundred and sixteen (23.5%) tick samples and one (1.2%) crab-eating fox blood sample showed positivity in qPCR assays for SFG Rickettsia spp. Among SFG Rickettsia-positive ticks samples, 93 (80.2%) belonged to A. parvum, 14 (12%) belonged to A. sculptum species, three (2.5%) belonged to A. auricularim, and six (5.2%) were Amblyomma larval pools. Thirty samples out of 117 qPCR positive samples for SFG Rickettsia spp. also showed positivity in cPCR assays based on gltA, htrA and/or ompB genes. The Blast analyses showed 100% identity with ‘Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae’ in all 30 sequences obtained from gltA, htrA and/or ompB genes. The concatenated phylogenetic analysis based on gltA and 17-kDa htrA genes grouped the Rickettsia sequences obtained from tick samples in the same clade of ‘Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae’. The present study revealed that wild and domestic animals in southern Pantanal region, Brazil, are exposed to SFG rickettsiae agents. Future studies regarding the pathogenicity of these agents are necessary in order to prevent human cases of rickettsiosis in Brazilian southern Pantanal.



qPCR, Rickettsia amblyommatis, Rickettsia parkeri, Rickettsia rickettsii, Serology, Ticks, ‘Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae’

Como citar

Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, v. 9, n. 1, p. 10-17, 2018.