Seroprevalence of Scrub Typhus, Typhus, and Spotted Fever Among Rural and Urban Populations of Northern Vietnam.
ABSTRACT: 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 (P < 0.05). The majority of TG seropositives were observed among urban rather than rural residents (P < 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 Rickettsia serological testing criteria in future clinical studies.
Project description:The presence of the nucleic acid of the spotted fever group (SPG) and typhus group (TG) rickettsiae was investigated in 200 serum specimens seropositive for SFG rickettsiae by multiplex-nested polymerase chain reaction with primers derived from the rickettsial outer membrane protein B gene. The DNA of SFG, TG, or both rickettsiae was amplified in the 24 serum specimens, and sequence analysis showed Rickettsia conorii, R. japonica, and R. felis in the specimens. R. conorii and R. typhi were found in 7 serum specimens, which indicated the possibility of dual infection in these patients. These findings suggest that several kinds of rickettsial diseases, including boutonneuse fever, rickettsialpox, R. felis infection, and Japanese spotted fever, as well as scrub typhus and murine typhus, are occurring in Korea.
Project description:With few studies conducted to date, very little is known about the epidemiology of rickettsioses in Bhutan. Due to two previous outbreaks and increasing clinical cases, scrub typhus is better recognized than other rickettsial infections and Q fever.A descriptive cross-sectional serosurvey was conducted from January to March 2015 in eight districts of Bhutan. Participants were 864 healthy individuals from an urban (30%) and a rural (70%) sampling unit in each of the eight districts. Serum samples were tested by microimmunofluorescence assay for rickettsial antibodies at the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory.Of the 864 participants, 345 (39.9%) were males and the mean age of participants was 41.1 (range 13-98) years. An overall seroprevalence of 49% against rickettsioses was detected. Seroprevalence was highest against scrub typhus group (STG) (22.6%) followed by spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsia (15.7%), Q fever (QF) (6.9%) and typhus group (TG) rickettsia (3.5%). Evidence of exposure to multiple agents was also noted; the commonest being dual exposure to STG and SFG at 5%. A person's likelihood of exposure to STG and SFG rickettsia significantly increased with age and farmers were twice as likely to have evidence of STG exposure as other occupations. Trongsa district appeared to be a hotspot for STG exposure while Punakha district had the lowest STG exposure risk. Zhemgang had the lowest exposure risk to SFG rickettsia compared to other districts. People living at altitudes above 2000 meters were relatively protected from STG infections but this was not observed for SFG, TG or QF exposure.This seroprevalence study highlights the endemicity of STG and SFG rickettsia in Bhutan. The high seroprevalence warrants appropriate public health interventions, such as diagnostic improvements and clinical treatment guidelines. Future studies should focus on vector profiles, geospatial, bio-social and environmental risk assessment and preventive and control strategies.
Project description:There is limited evidence of rickettsial diseases in Bhutan. We explored the contribution of rickettsioses as a cause of undifferentiated febrile illness in patients presenting to 14 Bhutanese hospitals from October 2014 to June 2015. Obvious causes of fever were excluded clinically. Clinico-demographic information and acute blood samples were collected. Samples were tested by immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and qPCR against scrub typhus group (STG), spotted fever group (SFG) and typhus group (TG) rickettsiae, and Q fever (QF). Of the 1044 patients, 539 (51.6%) were female and the mean age was 31.5 years. At least 159 (15.2%) of the patients had evidence of a concurrent rickettsial infection. Of these, 70 (6.7%), 46 (4.4%), 4 (0.4%), and 29 (2.8%) were diagnosed as acute infections with STG, SFG, TG, and QF respectively. Ten (1.0%) patients were seropositive for both SFG and TG. Seven of the 70 STG patients were positive by qPCR. Eschar (p < 0.001), myalgia (p = 0.003), and lymphadenopathy (p = 0.049) were significantly associated with STG, but no specific symptoms were associated with the other infections. Disease incidences were not different between age groups, genders, occupations, and districts, except for students with significantly lower odds of infection with STG (OR = 0.43; 95% CI = 0.20, 0.93; p = 0.031). Rickettsioses were responsible for at least 15% of undifferentiated febrile illnesses in Bhutan, scrub typhus being the commonest. Health authorities should ensure that health services are equipped to manage these infections.
Project description:Phylogenomics reveals extreme gene loss in typhus group (TG) rickettsiae relative to the levels for other rickettsial lineages. We report here a curious protease-encoding gene (ppcE) that is conserved only in TG rickettsiae. As a possible determinant of host pathogenicity, ppcE warrants consideration in the development of therapeutics against epidemic and murine typhus.
Project description:The nucleotide sequences (534 to 546 bp) of the groEL gene, which encodes the 60-kDa heat shock protein GroEL, from 15 rickettsial strains were determined and compared. In the phylogenetic tree created by the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic averages and the neighbor-joining method, rickettsial strains could be distinguished from Ehrlichia strains. Five spotted fever group strains, four typhus group strains, and six scrub typhus group (STG) strains were differentiated as distinct entities. Unlike gltA and ompA gene analyses, differentiation between members of the genus Rickettsia and the STG rickettsiae by groEL gene analysis was possible. In comparison with 16S rRNA gene analysis, the groEL gene has a higher degree of divergence among the rickettsiae. We therefore successfully developed rapid differentiation methods, PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and a species-specific PCR, based on the groEL gene sequences. Four Korean isolates were identified by these methods and groEL gene analysis. The results suggest that the groEL gene is useful for the identification and characterization of rickettsiae.
Project description:The genome sequence of Rickettsia felis revealed a number of rickettsial genetic anomalies that likely contribute not only to a large genome size relative to other rickettsiae, but also to phenotypic oddities that have confounded the categorization of R. felis as either typhus group (TG) or spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae. Most intriguing was the first report from rickettsiae of a conjugative plasmid (pRF) that contains 68 putative open reading frames, several of which are predicted to encode proteins with high similarity to conjugative machinery in other plasmid-containing bacteria.Using phylogeny estimation, we determined the mode of inheritance of pRF genes relative to conserved rickettsial chromosomal genes. Phylogenies of chromosomal genes were in agreement with other published rickettsial trees. However, phylogenies including pRF genes yielded different topologies and suggest a close relationship between pRF and ancestral group (AG) rickettsiae, including the recently completed genome of R. bellii str. RML369-C. This relatedness is further supported by the distribution of pRF genes across other rickettsiae, as 10 pRF genes (or inactive derivatives) also occur in AG (but not SFG) rickettsiae, with five of these genes characteristic of typical plasmids. Detailed characterization of pRF genes resulted in two novel findings: the identification of oriV and replication termination regions, and the likelihood that a second proposed plasmid, pRFdelta, is an artifact of the original genome assembly.Altogether, we propose a new rickettsial classification scheme with the addition of a fourth lineage, transitional group (TRG) rickettsiae, that is unique from TG and SFG rickettsiae and harbors genes from possible exchanges with AG rickettsiae via conjugation. We offer insight into the evolution of a plastic plasmid system in rickettsiae, including the role plasmids may have played in the acquirement of virulence traits in pathogenic strains, and the likely origin of plasmids within the rickettsial tree.
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:<label>BACKGROUND</label>Rickettsiae are obligate intracellular bacteria responsible for many febrile syndromes around the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa. Vectors of these pathogens include ticks, lice, mites and fleas. In order to assess exposure to flea-associated Rickettsia species in Madagascar, human and small mammal samples from an urban and a rural area, and their associated fleas were tested.<label>RESULTS</label>Anti-typhus group (TGR)- and anti-spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR)-specific IgG were detected in 24 (39%) and 21 (34%) of 62 human serum samples, respectively, using indirect ELISAs, with six individuals seropositive for both. Only two (2%) Rattus rattus out of 86 small mammals presented antibodies against TGR. Out of 117 fleas collected from small mammals, Rickettsia typhi, a TGR, was detected in 26 Xenopsylla cheopis (24%) collected from rodents of an urban area (n?=?107), while two of these urban X. cheopis (2%) were positive for Rickettsia felis, a SFGR. R. felis DNA was also detected in eight (31%) out of 26 Pulex irritans fleas.<label>CONCLUSIONS</label>The general population in Madagascar are exposed to rickettsiae, and two flea-associated Rickettsia pathogens, R. typhi and R. felis, are present near or in homes. Although our results are from a single district, they demonstrate that rickettsiae should be considered as potential agents of undifferentiated fever in Madagascar.
Project description:Natural foci of tick-borne spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae of public health concern have been found in Slovakia, but the role of rodents in their circulation is unclear. Ticks (Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes trianguliceps, Dermacentor marginatus, Dermacentor reticulatus, Haemaphysalis concinna and Haemaphysalis inermis) and tissues of rodents (Apodemus flavicollis, Apodemus sylvaticus, Myodes glareolus, Microtus arvalis, Microtus subterraneus and Micromys minutus) were examined for the presence of SFG rickettsiae and Coxiella burnetii by molecular methods. Suburban, natural and rural habitats were monitored to acquire information on the role of ticks and rodents in the agents' maintenance in various habitat types of Slovakia.The overall prevalence of rickettsial infection in questing I. ricinus and D. marginatus was 6.6% and 21.4%, respectively. Rickettsia helvetica, R. monacensis and non-identified rickettsial species were detected in I. ricinus, whereas R. slovaca and R. raoultii were identified in D. marginatus. Rickettsia spp.-infected I. ricinus occurred during the whole tick questing period. Rickettsia helvetica dominated (80.5%) followed by R. monacensis (6.5%). The species were present in all studied habitats. Rickettsia slovaca (66.7%) and R. raoultii (33.3%) were identified in D. marginatus from the rural habitat. Apodemus flavicollis was the most infested rodent species with I. ricinus, but My. glareolus carried the highest proportion of Rickettsia-positive I. ricinus larvae. Only 0.5% of rodents (A. flavicollis) and 5.2% of engorged I. ricinus removed from My. glareolus, A. flavicollis and M. arvalis were R. helvetica- and R. monacensis-positive. Coxiella burnetii was not detected in any of the tested samples. We hypothesize that rodents could play a role as carriers of infected ticks and contribute to the maintenance of rickettsial pathogens in natural foci.Long-term presence of SFG Rickettsia spp. was confirmed in questing ticks from different habitat types of Slovakia. The results suggest a human risk for infection with the pathogenic R. helvetica, R. monacensis, R. slovaca and R. raoultii.
Project description: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.