Direct evidence of Rickettsia typhi infection in Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks and their canine hosts
Murine typhus is a rickettsiosis caused by Rickettsia typhi, whose transmission is carried out by rat fleas in urban settlements as classically known, but it also has been related to cat fleas in a sub-urban alternative cycle that has been suggested by recent reports. These studies remarks that in addition to rats, other animals like cats, opossums and dogs could be implied in the transmission of Rickettsia typhi as infected fleas obtained from serologically positive animals have been detected in samples from endemic areas. In Mexico, the higher number of murine typhus cases have been detected in the Yucatan peninsula, which includes a great southeastern region of Mexico that shows ecologic characteristics similar to the sub-urban alternative cycle recently described in Texas and California at the United States. To find out which are the particular ecologic characteristics of murine typhus transmission in this region, we analyzed blood and Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks obtained from domestic dogs by molecular approaches, demonstrating that both samples were infected by Rickettsia typhi. Following this, we obtained isolates that were analyzed by genetic sequencing to corroborate this infection in 100% of the analyzed samples. This evidence suggests for the first time that ticks and dogs could be actively participating in the transmission of murine typhus, in a role that requires further studies for its precise description.
Keywords: Dogs, Murine typhus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Rickettsia typhi, Vector