Volume 57, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A number of isolates were obtained from seven species of rodents sampled from 12 geographic sites representing the major biotic communities of the southeastern United States. were isolated from the blood of 42.2% of 279 tested rodents. The highest prevalence of infection typically occurred among the most commonly captured species in the rodent community. Four phylogenetic groups, uniting 14 genotypic variants of , were identified by sequence analysis of the citrate synthase gene. The level of sequence homology between genotypic groups varied from 88.8% to 96.4%, and the degree of homology among variants within groups was ≥ 97%. Cotton rats () harbored up to three phylogenetic groups of at a single site, and of two phylogenetic groups were isolated from a single rodent. All the isolated from three species of clustered in a single distinct phylogenetic group, suggesting some host specificity may occur. Mouse ascitic fluids produced in BALB/c mice inoculated with of three phylogenetic groups demonstrated high indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) titers to homologous antigens. However, use of eight antigens in an IFA test with sera from 394 wild-caught rodents resulted in either little or extremely low titers of antibody.


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