Serologic and molecular survey of Rickettsia spp. in dogs, horses and ticks from the Atlantic rainforest of the state of Bahia, Brazil.Exp Appl Acarol 2019; 78(3):431-442EA
Tick-borne spotted fever in Brazil is known to be caused by two agents, Rickettsia rickettsii and Rickettsia parkeri. Nothing was known about these agents in one area of the Atlantic rainforest biome of Bahia state, where during March to June 2016, 356 rural dogs and 69 horses were sampled and their sera were processed through indirect immunofluorescence assay against antigens of R. rickettsii, R. parkeri, Rickettsia amblyommatis and Rickettsia bellii. Ticks collected from these dogs and horses were molecularly tested for the presence of rickettsial DNA. Overall, 16.4% (58/356) dogs and 24.6% (17/69) horses were seroreactive to Rickettsia spp. Five tick species, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (s.l.), Amblyomma ovale, A. sculptum, R. microplus, and A. naponense, were collected from dogs, whereas horses were infested by A. sculptum and Dermacentor nitens. A total of 242 ticks from dogs and 62 from horses were analyzed by PCR targeting rickettsiae, which were detected in only 4/27 (14.8%) A. ovale. Fragments of the rickettsial gltA and ompA genes from these four ticks were 100% identical to the Atlantic rainforest strain of R. parkeri. The presence of A. ovale on dogs was positively associated with local canine seroreactivity to R. parkeri. Our results provide evidence for the transmission of R. parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest from A. ovale to domestic dogs within the rural area of Ilhéus, similarly to other areas of the Atlantic rainforest biome of Brazil, where human cases of R. parkeri-caused spotted fever have been reported.