Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis in different ecological regions of Argentina and its association with Amblyomma tigrinum as a potential vector.
ABSTRACT: Rickettsia parkeri, a newly recognized tick-borne pathogen of humans in the Americas, is a confirmed cause of spotted fever group rickettsiosis in Argentina. Until recently, almost all cases of R. parkeri rickettsiosis in Argentina have originated from the Paraná River Delta, where entomological surveys have identified populations of R. parkeri-infected Amblyomma triste ticks. In this report, we describe confirmed cases of R. parkeri rickettsiosis from Córdoba and La Rioja provinces, which are located several hundred kilometers inland, and in a more arid ecological region, where A. triste ticks do not occur. Additionally, we identified questing A. tigrinum ticks naturally infected with R. parkeri in Córdoba province. These data provide evidence that another human-biting tick species serves as a potential vector of R. parkeri in Argentina and possibly, other countries of South America.
Project description:Specimens of the hard tick Amblyomma triste were found infected with Rickettsia parkeri in an area of Argentina (General Lavalle, Buenos Aires Province) where cases of human illness attributed to this microorganism have been reported. Molecular detection of R. parkeri was based on polymerase chain reactions that amplify a ca. 400-bp fragment of the 23S-5S intergenic spacer and a ca. 500-bp fragment of the gene encoding a 190-kDa outer membrane protein. Three (6.97%) of 43 A. triste ticks were determined to be positive for R. parkeri. These results provide strong evidence that A. triste is the vector of R. parkeri in the study area. The findings of this work have epidemiological relevance because human parasitism by A. triste ticks has been frequently recorded in some riparian areas of Argentina and Uruguay and new cases of R. parkeri rickettsiosis might arise in the South American localities where humans are exposed to the bites of this tick species.
Project description:Rickettsia parkeri, a recently identified cause of spotted fever rickettsiosis in the United States, has been found in Amblyomma triste ticks in several countries of South America, including Argentina, where it is believed to cause disease in humans. We describe the clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of 2 patients in Argentina with confirmed R. parkeri infection and 7 additional patients with suspected R. parkeri rickettsiosis identified at 1 hospital during 2004-2009. The frequency and character of clinical signs and symptoms among these 9 patients closely resembled those described for patients in the United States (presence of an inoculation eschar, maculopapular rash often associated with pustules or vesicles, infrequent gastrointestinal manifestations, and relatively benign clinical course). Many R. parkeri infections in South America are likely to be misdiagnosed as other infectious diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, dengue, or leptospirosis.
Project description:In the United States, all previously reported cases of Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis have been linked to transmission by the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum). Here we describe 1 confirmed and 1 probable case of R. parkeri rickettsiosis acquired in a mountainous region of southern Arizona, well beyond the recognized geographic range of A. maculatum ticks. The likely vector for these 2 infections was identified as the Amblyomma triste tick, a Neotropical species only recently recognized in the United States. Identification of R. parkeri rickettsiosis in southern Arizona demonstrates a need for local ecologic and epidemiologic assessments to better understand geographic distribution and define public health risk. Education and outreach aimed at persons recreating or working in this region of southern Arizona would improve awareness and promote prevention of tickborne rickettsioses.
Project description:Clinical reports of an eschar-associated rickettsiosis in the Paraná River Delta of Argentina prompted an evaluation of Amblyomma triste ticks in this region. When evaluated by PCR, 17 (7.6%) of 223 questing adult A. triste ticks, collected from 2 sites in the lower Paraná River Delta, contained DNA of Rickettsia parkeri.
Project description:The distribution of Rickettsia parkeri in South America has been associated with Amblyomma triste ticks. The present study evaluated under laboratory conditions two colonies of A. triste: one started from engorged females that were naturally infected by R. parkeri (designated as infected group); the other started from noninfected females (designated as control group). Both colonies were reared in parallel for five consecutive generations. Tick-naïve domestic rabbits were used for feeding of each tick stage and generation. R. parkeri was preserved by transstadial maintenance and transovarial transmission in A. triste ticks for five consecutive generations, because all tested larvae, nymphs, and adults from the infected group were shown by PCR to contain rickettsial DNA. All rabbits infested by larvae, nymphs, and adults from the infected group seroconverted, indicating that these tick stages were all vector competent for R. parkeri. Expressive differences in mortality rates were observed between engorged nymphs from the infected and control groups, as indicated by 65.9% and 92.4% molting success, respectively. Our results indicate that A. triste can act as a natural reservoir for R. parkeri. However, due to deleterious effect caused by R. parkeri on engorged nymphs, amplifier vertebrate hosts might be necessary for natural long-term maintenance of R. parkeri in A. triste.
Project description:Geographic distribution of Rickettsia parkeri in its US tick vector, Amblyomma maculatum, was evaluated by PCR. R. parkeri was detected in ticks from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, which suggests that A. maculatum may be responsible for additional cases of R. parkeri rickettsiosis throughout much of its US range.
Project description:Amblyomma maculatum (the Gulf Coast tick), an aggressive, human-biting, Nearctic and Neotropical tick, is the principal vector of Rickettsia parkeri in the United States. This pathogenic spotted fever group Rickettsia species has been identified in 8-52% of questing adult Gulf Coast ticks in the southeastern United States. To our knowledge, R. parkeri has not been reported previously from adult specimens of A. maculatum collected in Kansas or Oklahoma. A total of 216 adult A. maculatum ticks were collected from 18 counties in Kansas and Oklahoma during 2011-2014 and evaluated by molecular methods for evidence of infection with R. parkeri. No infections with this agent were identified; however, 47% of 94 ticks collected from Kansas and 73% of 122 ticks from Oklahoma were infected with "Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae" a spotted fever group Rickettsia species of undetermined pathogenicity. These preliminary data suggest that "Ca. R. andeanae" is well-adapted to survival in populations of A. maculatum in Kansas and Oklahoma, and that its ubiquity in Gulf Coast ticks in these states may effectively exclude R. parkeri from their shared arthropod host, which could diminish markedly or preclude entirely the occurrence of R. parkeri rickettsiosis in this region of the United States.
Project description:There are 4 major human-biting tick species in the northeastern United States, which include: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. The black bear is a large mammal that has been shown to be parasitized by all the aforementioned ticks. We investigated the bacterial infections in ticks collected from Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus subspecies luteolus). Eighty-six ticks were collected from 17 black bears in Louisiana from June 2010 to March 2011. All 4 common human-biting tick species were represented. Each tick was subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting select bacterial pathogens and symbionts. Bacterial DNA was detected in 62% of ticks (n=53). Rickettsia parkeri, the causative agent of an emerging spotted fever group rickettsiosis, was identified in 66% of A. maculatum, 28% of D. variabilis, and 11% of I. scapularis. The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, was detected in 2 I. scapularis, while one A. americanum was positive for Borrelia bissettii, a putative human pathogen. The rickettsial endosymbionts Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae, rickettsial endosymbiont of I. scapularis, and Rickettsia amblyommii were detected in their common tick hosts at 21%, 39%, and 60%, respectively. All ticks were PCR-negative for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia spp., and Babesia microti. This is the first reported detection of R. parkeri in vector ticks in Louisiana; we also report the novel association of R. parkeri with I. scapularis. Detection of both R. parkeri and B. burgdorferi in their respective vectors in Louisiana demands further investigation to determine potential for human exposure to these pathogens.
Project description:The aim of this work was to report the detection of a putative novel <i>Ehrlichia</i> strain associated with the tick <i>Amblyomma triste</i>. Free-living adult ticks determined as <i>A. triste</i> were collected by drag-sampling in Argentina and Uruguay. Molecular detection of <i>Ehrlichia</i> agents was performed targeting three different loci: 16S rRNA gene, <i>dsb</i> gene and a fragment of <i>groESL</i> heat shock operon. In total, 164 adults of <i>A. triste</i> (38 from INTA E.E.A Delta del Paraná in Argentina and 126 from Toledo Chico in Uruguay) were analyzed. One tick (0.6%) collected in INTA E.E.A. Delta del Paraná (Argentina) was positive. The phylogenetic analyses show that the <i>Ehrlichia</i> strain found in this study (named <i>Ehrlichia</i> sp. strain Delta) represents an independent lineage within the genus <i>Ehrlichia</i>, close to <i>E. chaffeensis</i> and <i>E. muris</i>. This is also the first report of an <i>Ehrlichia</i> agent infecting the tick <i>A. triste</i>. The medical and veterinary significance of <i>Ehrlichia</i> sp. strain Delta remains to be demonstrated. However, it is important to mention that adults of <i>A. triste</i> are aggressive to humans and domestic mammals. Therefore, the potential role of <i>A. triste</i> in the transmission of <i>Ehrlichia</i> agents to humans or domestic animals across its distributional range should be highlighted, even more considering that <i>Ehrlichia</i> sp. strain Delta is phylogenetically related to the zoonotic <i>E. chaffeensis</i>, which is recognized as pathogenic to both humans and animals.
Project description:Arthropod-borne rickettsial pathogens cause mild and severe human disease worldwide. The tick-borne pathogen <i>Rickettsia parkeri</i> elicits skin lesions (eschars) and disseminated disease in humans; however, inbred mice are generally resistant to infection. We report that intradermal infection of mice lacking both interferon receptors (<i>Ifnar1<sup>-/-</sup>;Ifngr1<sup>-/-</sup></i>) with as few as 10 <i>R</i>. <i>parkeri</i> elicits eschar formation and disseminated, lethal disease. Similar to human infection, eschars exhibited necrosis and inflammation, with bacteria primarily found in leukocytes. Using this model, we find that the actin-based motility factor Sca2 is required for dissemination from the skin to internal organs, and the outer membrane protein OmpB contributes to eschar formation. Immunizing <i>Ifnar1<sup>-/-</sup>;Ifngr1<sup>-/-</sup></i> mice with <i>sca2</i> and <i>ompB</i> mutant <i>R. parkeri</i> protects against rechallenge, revealing live-attenuated vaccine candidates. Thus, <i>Ifnar1<sup>-/-</sup>;Ifngr1<sup>-/-</sup></i> mice are a tractable model to investigate rickettsiosis, virulence factors, and immunity. Our results further suggest that discrepancies between mouse and human susceptibility may be due to differences in interferon signaling.