Rickettsial infections in Southeast Asia: implications for local populace and febrile returned travelers.
ABSTRACT: Rickettsial infections represent a major cause of non-malarial febrile illnesses among the residents of Southeast Asia and returned travelers from that region. There are several challenges in recognition, diagnosis, and management of rickettsioses endemic to Southeast Asia. This review focuses on the prevalent rickettsial infections, namely, murine typhus (Rickettsia typhi), scrub typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi), and members of spotted fever group rickettsiae. Information on epidemiology and regional variance in the prevalence of rickettsial infections is analyzed. Clinical characteristics of main groups of rickettsioses, unusual presentations, and common pitfalls in diagnosis are further discussed. In particular, relevant epidemiologic and clinical aspects on emerging spotted fever group rickettsiae in the region, such as Rickettsia honei, R. felis, R. japonica, and R. helvetica, are presented. Furthermore, challenges in laboratory diagnosis and management aspects of rickettsial infections unique to Southeast Asia are discussed, and data on emerging resistance to antimicrobial drugs and treatment/prevention options are also reviewed.
Project description:AbstractRickettsial infections are recognized as important causes of fever throughout southeast Asia. Herein, we determined the seroprevalence to rickettsioses within rural and urban populations of northern Vietnam. Prevalence of individuals with evidence of prior rickettsial infections (IgG positive) was surprisingly low, with 9.14% (83/908) testing positive to the three major rickettsial serogroups thought to circulate in the region. Prevalence of typhus group rickettsiae (TG)-specific antibodies (6.5%, 58/908) was significantly greater than scrub typhus group orientiae (STG)- or spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFG)-specific antibodies (<i>P</i> < 0.05). The majority of TG seropositives were observed among urban rather than rural residents (<i>P</i> < 0.05). In contrast, overall antibody prevalence to STG and SFG were both very low (1.1%, 10/908 for STG; 1.7%, 15/908 for SFG), with no significant differences between rural and urban residents. These results provide data on baseline population characteristics that may help inform development of <i>Rickettsia</i> serological testing criteria in future clinical studies.
Project description:Rickettsial zoonotic diseases, in particular scrub typhus, murine typhus, and tick typhus, are caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, Rickettsia typhi, and Rickettsia honei infections. Rickettsiae exposure is typically related to a rodent host in various habitats of marginal regions, including between rural areas and communities such as the Salaya suburb. This allows the oriental house rat (OHR), a highly adaptive species, to live in close proximity to the community and possibly introduce rickettsial diseases. To understand rickettsial exposure in the OHR from different habitats, knowledge of disease exposure can serve as baseline information for disease management and prevention. A total of 185 OHRs from three unrelated habitats were assessed using a standard indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for specific antibody reaction to O. tsutsugamushi, R. typhi, and R. honei. The presence of antibody in the OHR to rickettsiae, either scrub or murine typhus, was associated with the habitat, whereas tick typhus had general exposure. This finding shows the OHR to be a potential reservoir host for rickettsial diseases along the borders of geographic regions in the suburban environment.
Project description:Limited information is available on the etiological agents of rickettsioses in southeast Asia. Herein, we report the molecular investigation of rickettsioses in four patients attending a teaching hospital in Malaysia. DNA of Rickettsia sp. RF2125, Rickettsia typhi, and a rickettsia closely related to Rickettsia raoultii was detected in the blood samples of the patients. Spotted fever group rickettsioses and murine typhus should be considered in the diagnosis of patients with nonspecific febrile illness in this region.
Project description:We report 3 rickettsioses on Darnley Island, Australia, in the Torres Strait. In addition to previously described cases of Flinders Island spotted fever (Rickettsia honei strain "marmionii"), we describe 1 case of Queensland tick typhus (R. australis) and 2 cases of scrub typhus caused by a unique strain (Orientia tsutsugamushi).
Project description:Rickettsioses are emerging zoonotic diseases that are often neglected in many countries in Southeast Asia. Rickettsial agents are transmitted to humans through exposure to infected arthropods. Limited data are available on the exposure of indigenous community and animal farm workers to the aetiological agents and arthropod vectors of rickettsioses in Peninsular Malaysia. Serological analysis of Rickettsia conorii and Rickettsia felis was performed for 102 individuals from the indigenous community at six rural villages and 87 workers from eight animal farms in Peninsular Malaysia in a cross-sectional study. The indigenous community had significantly higher seropositivity rates for R. conorii (P<0.001) and R. felis (P<0.001), as compared to blood donors from urban (n=61). Similarly, higher seropositivity rates for R. conorii (P=0.046) and R. felis (P<0.001) were noted for animal farm workers, as compared to urban blood donors. On the basis of the sequence analysis of gltA, ompA and ompB, various spotted fever group rickettsiae closely related to R. raoultii, R. heilongjiangensis, R. felis-like organisms, R. tamurae, Rickettsia sp. TCM1, R. felis, Rickettsia sp. LON13 and R. hulinensis were identified from tick/flea samples in animal farms, indigenous villages and urban areas. This study describes rickettsial seropositivity of the Malaysian indigenous community and animal farm workers, and provides molecular evidence regarding the presence of rickettsial agents in ticks/fleas infesting domestic animals in Peninsular Malaysia.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Rickettsioses are one of the most important causes of systemic febrile illness among travelers from developed countries, but little is known about their incidence in indigenous populations, especially in West Africa. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Overall seroprevalence evaluated by immunofluorescence using six rickettsial antigens (spotted fever and typhus group) in rural populations of two villages of the Sine-Saloum region of Senegal was found to be 21.4% and 51% for spotted fever group rickettsiae for Dielmo and Ndiop villages, respectively. We investigated the role of tick-borne rickettsiae as the cause of acute non-malarial febrile diseases in the same villages. The incidence of rickettsial DNA in 204 blood samples from 134 (62M and 72F) febrile patients negative for malaria was studied. DNA extracted from whole blood was tested by two qPCR systems. Rickettsial DNA was found in nine patients, eight with Rickettsia felis (separately reported). For the first time in West Africa, Rickettsia conorii was diagnosed in one patient. We also tested 2,767 Ixodid ticks collected in two regions of Senegal (Niakhar and Sine-Saloum) from domestic animals (cows, sheep, goats, donkeys and horses) by qPCR and identified five different pathogenic rickettsiae. We found the following: Rickettsia aeschlimannii in Hyalomma marginatum rufipes (51.3% and 44.8% in Niakhar and Sine-Saloum region, respectively), in Hyalomma truncatum (6% and 6.8%) and in Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi (0.5%, only in Niakhar); R. c. conorii in Rh. e. evertsi (0.4%, only in Sine-Saloum); Rickettsia massiliae in Rhipicephalus guilhoni (22.4%, only in Niakhar); Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae in Hyalomma truncatum (13.5%, only in Sine-Saloum); and Rickettsia africae in Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi (0.7% and 0.4% in Niakhar and Sine-Saloum region, respectively) as well as in Rhipicephalus annulatus (20%, only in Sine-Saloum). We isolated two rickettsial strains from H. truncatum: R. s. mongolitimonae and R. aeschlimannii. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We believe that together with our previous data on the high prevalence of R. africae in Amblyomma ticks and R. felis infection in patients, the presented results on the distribution of pathogenic rickettsiae in ticks and the first R. conorii case in West Africa show that the rural population of Senegal is at risk for other tick-borne rickettsioses, which are significant causes of febrile disease in this area.
Project description:Rickettsiae were isolated by cell culture of buffy coat blood from six patients with spotted fever from southeastern Australia and Flinders Island in Bass Strait. The isolates were genetically compared with two previous Rickettsia australis patient isolates. The genus-specific 17-kDA genes from the isolates were compared after DNA amplification and restriction fragment analysis of the amplified DNA. This comparison revealed that mainland rickettsial isolates from southeastern Australia were identical to two previous isolates of R. australis from northeastern Australia. Rickettsial isolates from Flinders Island were distinct from the mainland isolates. The 16S rRNA gene sequences from the isolates were determined and compared. The Flinders Island rickettsial agent was most closely related (0.3% structural divergence) to Rickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia conorii, and Rickettsia slovaca. The Flinders Island rickettsial agent was 1.3 and 2.1% structurally divergent from R. australis and Rickettsia akari, respectively. The 16S rRNA gene sequence from the Flinders Island agent shows that this rickettsia is more closely related to the rickettsial spotted fever group than is R. australis. We conclude that there are two populations of spotted fever group rickettsiae in Australia and propose that the genetically distinct causative organism of Flinders Island spotted fever be designated Rickettsia honei. The extent of distribution and animal host reservoirs remain to be elucidated.
Project description:Due to a resurgence of flea-borne rickettsioses in Orange County, California, we investigated the etiologies of rickettsial infections of Ctenocephalides felis, the predominant fleas species obtained from opossums (Didelphis virginiana) and domestic cats (Felis catus), collected from case exposure sites and other areas in Orange County. In addition, we assessed the prevalence of IgG antibodies against spotted fever group (SFGR) and typhus group (TGR) rickettsiae in opossum sera. Of the 597 flea specimens collected from opossums and cats, 37.2% tested positive for Rickettsia. PCR and sequencing of rickettsial genes obtained from C. felis flea DNA preparations revealed the presence of R. typhi (1.3%), R. felis (28.0%) and R. felis-like organisms (7.5%). Sera from opossums contained TGR-specific (40.84%), but not SFGR-specific antibodies. The detection of R. felis and R. typhi in the C. felis fleas in Orange County highlights the potential risk for human infection with either of these pathogens, and underscores the need for further investigations incorporating specimens from humans, animal hosts, and invertebrate vectors in endemic areas. Such studies will be essential for establishing a link in the ongoing flea-borne rickettsioses outbreaks.
Project description:Tick-borne rickettsioses are caused by obligate intracellular bacteria belonging to the spotted fever group of the genus Rickettsia. These zoonoses are among the oldest known vector-borne diseases. However, in the past 25 years, the scope and importance of the recognized tick-associated rickettsial pathogens have increased dramatically, making this complex of diseases an ideal paradigm for the understanding of emerging and reemerging infections. Several species of tick-borne rickettsiae that were considered nonpathogenic for decades are now associated with human infections, and novel Rickettsia species of undetermined pathogenicity continue to be detected in or isolated from ticks around the world. This remarkable expansion of information has been driven largely by the use of molecular techniques that have facilitated the identification of novel and previously recognized rickettsiae in ticks. New approaches, such as swabbing of eschars to obtain material to be tested by PCR, have emerged in recent years and have played a role in describing emerging tick-borne rickettsioses. Here, we present the current knowledge on tick-borne rickettsiae and rickettsioses using a geographic approach toward the epidemiology of these diseases.
Project description:Australia has 4 rickettsial diseases: murine typhus, Queensland tick typhus, Flinders Island spotted fever, and scrub typhus. We describe 7 cases of a rickettsiosis with an acute onset and symptoms of fever (100%), headache (71%), arthralgia (43%), myalgia (43%), cough (43%), maculopapular/petechial rash (43%), nausea (29%), pharyngitis (29%), lymphadenopathy (29%), and eschar (29%). Cases were most prevalent in autumn and from eastern Australia, including Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia. One patient had a history of tick bite (Haemaphysalis novaeguineae). An isolate shared 99.2%, 99.8%, 99.8%, 99.9%, and 100% homology with the 17 kDa, ompA, gltA, 16S rRNA, and Sca4 genes, respectively, of Rickettsia honei. This Australian rickettsiosis has similar symptoms to Flinders Island spotted fever, and the strain is genetically related to R. honei. It has been designated the "marmionii" strain of R. honei, in honor of Australian physician and scientist Barrie Marmion.