Detection of Bartonella sp. and a novel spotted fever group Rickettsia sp. in Neotropical fleas of wild rodents (Cricetidae) from Southern Brazil

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Schott, Diogo
Umeno, Karen
Dall'Agnol, Bruno
Souza, Ugo Araújo
Webster, Anelise
Michel, Thais
Peters, Felipe
Christoff, Alexandre Uarth
André, Marcos Rogério [UNESP]
Ott, Ricardo

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The Neotropical region shows a great diversity of fleas, comprising more than 50 genera. The importance of the study of fleas is linked to their potential role as disease vectors. The aim of this study is to investigate the presence of Rickettsia spp. and Bartonella spp. in Neotropical fleas collected from wild rodents in Southern Brazil. From 350 rodents captured, 30 were parasitized by fleas. A total of 61 fleas belonging to two genera and six different species were collected (Craneopsylla minerva minerva, Polygenis occidentalis occidentalis, Polygenis platensis, Polygenis pradoi, Polygenis rimatus, and Polygenis roberti roberti). In 13 % of fleas of three different species (C. minerva, P. platensis, and P. pradoi) Rickettsia sp. DNA was found. Phylogenetic analysis of concatenated sequences of gltA, htrA, and ompA genes showed that Rickettsia sp. found in rodent fleas (referred as strain Taim) grouped together with Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia. In reference to Bartonella spp., five genotypes were identified in seven fleas of two species (C. minerva and P. platensis) and in five rodent spleens. Also, 207 frozen samples of wild rodents were screened for these pathogens: while none was positive for Rickettsia spp.; five rodent spleens were PCR-positive for Bartonella spp. Herein, we show the detection of potential novel variants of Bartonella sp. and Rickettsia sp. in fleas collected of wild rodents from Southern Brazil. Further studies are needed to fully characterize these microorganisms, as well as to improve the knowledge on the potential role of Neotropical flea species as diseases vectors.



Bartonellosis, Flea-borne, Pampa biome, Zoonosis

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Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, v. 73.