FLEAS AND FLEA-BORNE DISEASES

Ct. felis

A survey of the vectors of spotted fever group Rickettsiae and of murine typhus was carried out in Rahat, a Bedouin town in the Negev Desert, where the diseases are endemic. Houses with known cases of spotted fever group Rickettsiae or murine typhus were compared with those without reported clinical cases. A neighboring Jewish community, Lehavim, where no cases of spotted fever group Rickettsiae and murine typhus were reported in recent years, was used as a control. In the houses of patients with spotted fever group Rickettsiae in Rahat, an average of 7.4 times more ticks were found than in control houses. Out of 190 ticks isolated from sheep and goats or caught by flagging in Rahat, 90% were Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Latreille), 7.9% Rhipicephalus turanicus Pomerantzev, and 2.1% were Hyalomma sp. In the houses of patients with murine typhus, three times more rats were caught and, on the average, each rat was infested with 2.2 times more fleas than rats in the control houses. Out of 323 fleas collected from 35 Norwegian rats (Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout), 191 were Xenopsylla cheopis Rothschild and 132 Echidnophaga murina Tiraboschi. Thus, there was a six to seven times higher probability of encountering a tick or flea vector where infections had occurred than in control houses in Rahat. The percentage of rats seropositive to Rickettsia typhi was similar in study and control households (78.3 and 76.2, respectively). In the control settlement, Lehavim, only three Mus musculus L. were caught, which were not infested with ectoparasites and their sera were negative for murine typhus. Out of 10 dogs examined in this settlement, 15 R. sanguineus and eight specimens of the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis Bouché) were isolated. No rats were caught in this settlement. These data indicate that there is a correlation among the density of domestic animals, their ectoparasites, and the incidence of spotted fever group Rickettsiae and murine typhus in Rahat (A 135).

 

The prevalence of Bartonella spp. in wild rodents was studied in 19 geographical locations in Israel. One hundred and twelve rodents belonging to five species (Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, Microtus socialis, Acomys cahirinus and Apodemus sylvaticus) were included in the survey. In addition, 156 ectoparasites were collected from the rodents. Spleen sample from each rodent and the ectoparasites were examined for the presence of Bartonella DNA using high resolution melt (HRM) real-time PCR. The method was designed for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of eight Bartonella spp. according to the nucleotide variation in each of two gene fragments (rpoB and gltA) and the 16S–23S intergenic spacer (ITS) locus, using the same PCR protocol which allowed the simultaneous amplification of the three different loci. Bartonella DNA was detected in spleen samples of 19 out of 79 (24%) black rats (R. rattus) and in 1 of 4 (25%) Cairo spiny mice (A. cahirinus). In addition, 15 of 34 (44%) flea pools harbored Bartonella DNA. Only rat flea (Xenopsyla cheopis) pools collected from black rats (R. rattus) were positive for Bartonella DNA. The Bartonella spp. detected in spleen samples from black rats (R. rattus) was closely related to both B. tribocorum and B. elizabethae. The species detected in the Cairo spiny mouse (A. cahirinus) spleen sample was closely related to the zoonotic pathogen, B. elizabethae. These results indicate that Bartonella species are highly prevalent in suburban rodent populations and their ectoparasites in Israel (A 136).



Publications

A 135. Mumcuoglu, K.Y., I. Ioffe-Uspensky, S. Alkrinawi, B. Sarov, E. Manor & R. Galun. 2001. Prevalence of vectors of the spotted fever group rickettsiae and murine typhus in a Bedouin town in Israel. J. Med. Entomol. 38: 458-461.

A 136. Morick M, G. Baneth, B. Avidor, MY Kosoy, KY Mumcuoglu, D. Mintz, O. Eyal, N. Shpigel & S. Harrus. 2009. Detection of Bartonella spp. in wild rodents in Israel using HRM real-time PCR. Vet. Microbiol. DOI.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.06.019