Volume 93, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The human body louse is known as a vector for the transmission of three serious diseases—specifically, epidemic typhus, trench fever, and relapsing fever caused by , , and , respectively—that have killed millions of people. It is also suspected in the transmission of a fourth pathogen, , which is the etiologic agent of plague. To date, human lice belonging to the genus have been classified into three mitochondrial clades: A, B, and C. Here, we describe a fourth mitochondrial clade, Clade D, comprising head and body lice. Clade D may be a vector of and , which is prevalent in a highly plague-endemic area near the Rethy Health District, Orientale Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.


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Supplementary PDF

  • Received : 29 Oct 2014
  • Accepted : 01 Jul 2015
  • Published online : 04 Nov 2015

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