Prevalence of vectors of the spotted fever group Rickettsiae and murine typhus in a Bedouin town in Israel

K. Y. Mumcuoglu, I. Ioffe-Uspensky, S. Alkrinawi, B. Sarov, E. Manor, R. Galun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-461
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

Keywords

  • Mediterranean spotted fever
  • Murine typhus
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus
  • Rickettsia conorii
  • Rickettsia typhi
  • Xenopsylla cheopis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Veterinary (all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases

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