Volume 20, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A search for rickettsial antibodies in human sera from Central America was performed by complement-fixation and microagglutination tests. Over 2,000 human sera from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panamá were surveyed for antibodies against , and . The results of the survey indicated that: Q fever was endemic in Central America; in areas of Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panamá a small percentage of the inhabitants had spotted fever group antibodies; infections may have occurred in Costa Rica; epidemic typhus has been a major cause of rickettsial disease in the highlands of Guatemala. A low incidence of murine typhus was also found in Guatemala. Antigenic relationships between and members of both typhus and spotted fever groups of rickettsia are indicated by complement-fixation and microagglutination tests. The study also showed the microagglutination test to be a valuable tool in epidemiological studies.


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