Volume 32, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Detailed observations on the acquisition and propagation of experimental infection in two species of fleas are presented. infection became detectable by means of the direct fluorescent antibody test about 2 days earlier in than in the putative vector, . By the 6th day after the infective feeding, the entire lining and the lumen of the midgut in contained masses of rickettsiae and the agent was being passed in the feces of the flea, whereas in these events did not occur until the 8th day. Basic behavioral differences in the two species of flea may explain these discrepancies and also influence their ability to serve as vectors of murine typhus. As a semisessile flea and sustained feeder, only rarely attaches to a second individual and thus has an opportunity to acquire a heavy dose of rickettsiae, if feeding on a rickettsemic host. , in contrast, feeds rapidly and intermittently, even on man, and generally leaves its host soon thereafter, later returning to the same or another host to feed again. While may not be as efficient a vector as regarding the intramurine cycle or transmission to man of murine typhus, the dense accumulation of infective feces on certain sites on the fur of the host raises the possibility of air-borne infection to man or rodent. Infection with had no effect on the survival of and . Furthermore, no visible cytopathological effect was found in the paraffin-embedded sections of infected fleas. Although the occurrence and growth of in fleas were limited to the intestine, was observable within the lumina of the foregut and the proventriculus of 20–85% of the fleas tested. The occurrence of in the proventriculus and foregut introduces the unevaluated possibility of transmission by bite.


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