Flea-borne rickettsioses in the north of caldas province, Colombia

Marylin Hidalgo, Viviana Montoya, Alejandra Martínez, Marcela Mercado, Alberto De La Ossa, Carolina Vélez, Gloria Estrada, Jorge E. Pérez, Alvaro A. Faccini-Martínez, Marcelo B. Labruna, Gustavo Valbuena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Rickettsia typhi and R. felis are the etiological agents of murine typhus and flea-borne spotted fever, respectively. Both are emerging acute febrile zoonotic diseases for which fleas are vectors; they also have similar clinical characteristics and global distribution. In 2005, we identified the circulation of murine typhus in 6 towns within the mountainous coffee-growing area north of Caldas, Colombia. We now report the specific seroprevalence against R. typhi and R. felis, and associated risk factors in 7 towns of this province. The combined seroprevalence against the 2 flea-borne rickettsioses is the highest yet reported in the literature: 71.7% (17.8% for R. felis, 25.2% for R. typhi, and 28.7% for both). We also report a prospective analysis of 26 patients with a febrile illness compatible with rickettsioses, including murine typhus; 9 of these patients had a rickettsiosis. This supports our sero-epidemiological results and highlights the diagnostic complexity of febrile syndromes in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Colombia
  • Fleas
  • Rickettsia
  • Rickettsia felis
  • Zoonotic diseases.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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