Infection by Rickettsia felis in Ctenocephalides felis felis Fleas from North of Colombia

  • Verónica Contreras Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas del Trópico, Universidad de Córdoba, Colombia
  • Andrés F. Londoño Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Veterinarias, Centauro, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia
  • Jorge Miranda Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas del Trópico, Universidad de Córdoba, Colombia
  • Salim Mattar Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas del Trópico, Universidad de Córdoba, Colombia
  • Leidy Y. Acevedo-Gutiérrez Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Veterinarias, Centauro, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia
  • Francisco J. Diaz Grupo de Inmunovirología, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia
  • Juan D. Rodas 2Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Veterinarias, Centauro, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia
Keywords: Rickettsia felis, Fleas, Dogs, Rodents, Ctenocephalides felis


Background: Rickettsia felis is an emergent Rickettsial agent whose main vector is Ctenocephalides felis, but ticks, mites and lice are also infected. We aimed to search for molecular evidence of Rickettsia spp. in fleas collected from dogs and wild rodents (Heteromys anomalous) from three villages of Córdoba and Antioquia provinces (Northern of Colombia), where outbreaks of rickettsioses have occurred, and discuss the possible role of fleas on endem­ic/enzootic regions for rickettsia.Methods: During 2010 and 2012, 649 Ctenocephalides felis felis and 24 Pulex irritans fleas were removed from dogs and wild rodents (Heteromys anomalous), respectively, in 3 locations from Córdoba and Antioquia provinces (Colombia). These fleas were tested into pools for Rickettsial infection by PCR, targeting gltA, ompB, and ompA Rickettsial genes.Results: Almost 20% (30/153) of C. felis felis pools contained Rickettsial DNA. The fragments of ompB gene showed high identity values between sequences from Necocli and Los Cordobas with R. felis strain from Senegal (100% and 99.7% respectively) and all were highly related by phylogenetic analyses. Rickettsial DNA in pools of P. irritans was not detected.Conclusion: Our findings highlighted the endemicity of the infection by R. felis in fleas from northern of Colombia and showed the likely importance of dogs as hosts of C. felis felis fleas and their potential role as reservoirs of R. felis.


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How to Cite
Contreras V, Londoño AF, Miranda J, Mattar S, Acevedo-Gutiérrez LY, Diaz FJ, Rodas JD. Infection by Rickettsia felis in Ctenocephalides felis felis Fleas from North of Colombia. J Arthropod Borne Dis. 13(1):1.
Original Article