1921
Volume 95, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645

Abstract

Abstract

Murine typhus is an acute undifferentiated febrile illness caused by . The classic reservoir ( spp.) and flea vector () were once culprits of murine typhus in the United States. Vector and rodent control efforts have drastically decreased the prevalence of disease, except in a few endemic foci where opossums and cat fleas play a role in transmission. Since 2012, there has been a reemergence of murine typhus in Galveston, TX. We hypothesize that opossums and cat fleas are involved in the transmission of in Galveston. To explore this, we sought to find the seroprevalence of typhus group antibodies from opossums. We also sought to find the prevalence of in fleas parasitizing these animals. We collected blood from 12 opossums and found that eight (66.7%) had the presence of anti- antibodies. All opossums were infested with fleas; a total of 250 fleas were collected from these animals. Seven opossums (53.8%) were infested with fleas that had molecular evidence of infection, while six (46.2%) were infested with fleas that contained Rickettsia senegalensis, an organism closely related to . The minimum flea infection rate for was 7.0%. The minimum infection rate for R. senegalensis was 6.1%. Our study demonstrates that fleas infected with parasitize opossums in Galveston. It is therefore likely that opossums and their fleas play a role in the city's recent reemergence of murine typhus.

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2016-08-03
2017-09-26
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Supplementary Data

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  • Received : 11 Mar 2016
  • Accepted : 30 Apr 2016

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