Molecular detection of rickettsia felis in different flea species from caldas, colombia

Alejandro Ramírez-Hernández, Viviana Montoya, Alejandra Martínez, Jorge E. Pérez, Marcela Mercado, Alberto De La Ossa, Carolina Vélez, Gloria Estrada, Maria I. Correa, Laura Duque, Juan S. Ariza, Cesar Henao, Gustavo Valbuena, Marylin Hidalgo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Rickettsioses caused by Rickettsia felis are an emergent global threat. Historically, the northern region of the province of Caldas in Colombia has reported murine typhus cases, and recently, serological studies confirmed high seroprevalence for both R. felis and R. typhi. In the present study, fleas from seven municipalities were collected from dogs, cats, and mice. DNA was extracted and amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify gltA, ompB, and 17kD genes. Positive samples were sequenced to identify the species of Rickettsia. Of 1,341 fleas, Ctenocephalides felis was the most prevalent (76.7%). Positive PCR results in the three genes were evidenced in C. felis (minimum infection rates; 5.3%), C. canis (9.2%), and Pulex irritans (10.0%). Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) analyses of sequences showed high identity values (> 98%) with R. felis, and all were highly related by phylogenetic analyses. This work shows the first detection of R. felis in fleas collected from animals in Colombia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-459
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Parasitology


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