Rickettsia serosurvey in Kimberley, Western Australia.
To determine if antibodies to rickettsiae (scrub typhus, spotted fever, and typhus group rickettsiae) occur among persons living in the Kimberley (northern tropical) region of Western Australia, 920 sera collected in a non-random manner in 1996 from patients in Kununurra, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Wyndham, Derby, and Halls Creek were tested by micro-immunofluorescence for antibodies to a panel of rickettsial antigens. Of 920 sera examined, 52 (5.6%) were positive for antibodies to one or more of the three groups of rickettsial microorganisms. The largest group of sera (24; 2.6%) were positive for scrub typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi). Eleven other sera (1.2%) were positive for scrub typhus and spotted fever group rickettsiae and four (0.4%) were positive for scrub typhus, spotted fever group, and typhus group rickettsiae. In addition 13 sera (1.4%) were positive only for spotted fever group rickettsiae. In this study, only titers > or = 1:256 were considered significant. Thus, there is serologic evidence for scrub typhus and spotted fever group rickettsial infections in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Because of the method of serum collection, it is not possible to determine the prevalence of seropositivity, but the data support the need for a proper epidemiologic study of rickettsial diseases in this region of Australia. (+info)
Imported African tick bite fever: a case report.
We describe a patient with African tick-bite fever who acquired his infection while visiting rural areas of South Africa and then became sick after returning to the United States. The dominant clinical feature of his illness was the presence of multiple, ulcerated lesions (tache noires). Physicians in the United States and other non-African countries who see travelers returning from southern parts of Africa who give a history of recent tick bite and/or present with multiple, crusted or vesicular skin lesions should be alert to this diagnosis and institute treatment with doxycycline. (+info)
Diagnosis of rickettsial diseases using samples dried on blotting paper.
The use of filter paper is an inexpensive and convenient method for collecting, storing, and transporting blood samples for serological studies. In addition, samples occupy little space and can be readily transported without refrigeration. Rickettsial diseases often evolve according to an epidemic mode and are now considered reemerging diseases, especially in developing countries, under conditions where fieldwork could be difficult. The suitability of collecting whole-blood specimens on filter paper discs for rickettsial antibody assay was evaluated. Dried blood specimens from 64 individuals with antibodies to Coxiella burnetii, Bartonella quintana, or Rickettsia conorii were tested for rickettsial antibodies by microimmunofluorescence. Although occasional titers were 1 or 2 dilutions lower than those of tested serum samples, no statistically significant differences were observed. Among patients with negative serology, no false positives were found. This study demonstrated that the recovery of antibodies from finger-stick blood dried on filter paper after elution produces results comparable to those obtained by recovering antibodies from serum. Storing paper samples for 1 month at room temperature or at 4 degrees C did not significantly affect the level of antibodies recovered. This report shows the utility of this sample collection method in developing countries where refrigeration is not possible and venipuncture is problematic. (+info)
Tick-borne rickettiosis in Guadeloupe, the French West Indies: isolation of Rickettsia africae from Amblyomma variegatum ticks and serosurvey in humans, cattle, and goats.
Twenty-seven rickettsiae were isolated and/or detected from 100 Amblyomma variegatum ticks collected on Guadeloupe in the French West Indies. In this study, the polymerase chain reaction procedure appeared to be more sensitive in detecting rickettsiae in ticks than the shell-vial technique. Sequencing a portion of the outer membrane protein A-encoding gene showed that these rickettsiae appeared to be identical to Rickettsia africae, a member of the spotted fever group rickettsiae recently described as an agent of African tick-bite fever occurring in sub-Sahelian Africa. A high seroprevalence of antibodies to R. africae was demonstrated among mammals, particularly humans, cattle, and goats. These results and a recently reported case of an infection due to R. africae on Guadeloupe demonstrate that R. africae is present on this island. Although this disease has been underdiagnosed there, it may be frequent and may exist on other Caribbean islands where A. variegatum has propagated dramatically over recent years. (+info)
Serologic evidence of rickettsialpox (Rickettsia akari) infection among intravenous drug users in inner-city Baltimore, Maryland.
We tested single serum samples from 631 intravenous (i.v.) drug users from inner-city Baltimore, Maryland for serologic evidence of exposure to spotted fever group rickettsiae. A total of 102 (16%) individuals had titers > or = 64 to Rickettsia rickettsii by an indirect immunofluorescence assay. Confirmation that infection was caused by R. akari was obtained by cross-adsorption studies on a subset of serum samples that consistently resulted in higher titers to R. akari than to R. rickettsii. Current i.v. drug use, increased frequency of injection, and shooting gallery use were significant risk factors for presence of group-specific antibodies reactive with R. rickettsii. There was a significant inverse association with the presence of antibodies reactive to R. rickettsii and antibodies reactive to the human immunodeficiency virus. This study suggests that i.v. drug users are at an increased risk for R. akari infections. Clinicians should be aware of rickettsialpox, as well as other zoonotic diseases of the urban environment, when treating i.v. drug users for any acute febrile illness of undetermined etiology. (+info)
The incidence of ehrlichial and rickettsial infection in patients with unexplained fever and recent history of tick bite in central North Carolina.
We examined the clinical and laboratory findings of a consecutive series of patients from central North Carolina presenting with fever and a history of tick bite within the preceding 14 days. Evidence of a tick-transmitted pathogen was detected in 16 of 35 patients enrolled over a 2-year period. Nine patients were infected with Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and 6 were infected with a spotted fever group rickettsia; 1 patient had evidence of coinfection with E. chaffeensis and a spotted fever group rickettsia. Four patients had detectable antibodies against the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent; however, only 2 had a 4-fold antibody titer rise without detectable antibodies against E. chaffeensis. The other 2 were thought to have cross-reacting antibodies to E. chaffeensis. We conclude that ehrlichial infections may be as common as spotted fever group rickettsial infections in febrile patients from central North Carolina with a recent history of tick bite. (+info)
Serologic study of the prevalence of rickettsiosis in Yucatan: evidence for a prevalent spotted fever group rickettsiosis.
Because of the discovery of a spotted fever group rickettsiosis with signs and symptoms similar to dengue fever in Yucatan, Mexico, immunofluorescence assay (IFA) serology was performed on sera from 390 persons selected from a representative geographic distribution of rural Yucatan to detect antibodies reactive with Rickettsia rickettsii, R. akari, a Thai strain (TT-118) that is most closely related to a rickettsia identified in Amblyomma cajennense ticks in southern Texas, and R. typhi. The IFA antibodies at titers > or = 1:64 against R. akari were detected in 22 (5.6%) of the samples with the expected cross-reactivity against the other antigens of the spotted fever group. Immunoblotting with antigens of R. akari identified antibodies against antigens of spotted fever group lipopolysaccharides and not against rickettsial outer membrane proteins A and B, which contain the species-specific epitopes. A rickettsiosis most likely caused by a relative of R. akari appears to be both prevalent and widely distributed geographically in Yucatan. (+info)
The role of wild ruminants in the epidemiology of bovine petechial fever.
After experimental inoculation of Cytoecetes ondiri, the agent of bovine petechial fever (BPF), multiplication occurred in impala, bushbuck, Thomson's gazelles and wildebeest, as shown by infectivity studies and clinical findings. Similar attempts to infect one eland failed. As a sequel to this, blood and spleen samples were collected from four species of wild ruminants in an area where BPTF was endemic. Isolations of C. ondiri were made from three of five bushbuck, but not from any other species. (+info)