Volume 74, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The presence of , an emerging bacterial pathogen, was investigated in 79 cat flea () pools from Israel (5 to 20 fleas each) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of 5 different genes. Amplified targets included both metabolic ( and ) and surface antigen (, and the 17-kDa antigen) genes. DNA was detected in 7.6% of the flea pools. Two genotypes similar in their housekeeping gene sequences but markedly different in their surface antigenic genetic milieus were characterized. This is the first detection of this flea-transmitted rickettsia within its vector in Israel and the Middle East. Although no clinical case has been reported in human beings in Israel to date, these findings suggest that this infection is prevalent in Israel.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Shaw SE, Kenny MJ, Tasker S, Birtles RJ, 2004. Pathogen carriage by the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché) in the United Kingdom. Vet. Microbiol. 102 : 183–188. [Google Scholar]
  2. Azad AF, Sacci JB, Nelson WM, Dasch GA, Schmidtmann ET, Carl M, 1992. Genetic characterization and transovarial transmission of a typhus-like rickettsia found in cat fleas. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 89 : 43–46. [Google Scholar]
  3. Parola PO, Sanogo Y, Lerdthusnee K, Zeaiter Z, Chauvancy G, Gonzales JP, Miller RS, Telford SR, Wongsrichanalai C, Raoult D, 2003. Identification of Rickettsia spp. and Bartonella spp. in fleas from the Thai-Myanmar border. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 990 : 173–181. [Google Scholar]
  4. Radulovic S, Higgins JA, Jaworski DC, Dasch GA, Azad AF, 1995. Isolation, cultivation, and partial characterization of the ELB agent associated with cat fleas. Infect. Immun. 63 : 4826–4829. [Google Scholar]
  5. Adams JR, Schmidtmann ET, Azad AF, 1990. Infection of colonized cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché) with a rickett-sia-like microorganism. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 43 : 400–409. [Google Scholar]
  6. Raoult D, La Scola B, Enea M, Fournier PE, Roux V, Fenollar F, Galvao MAM, de Lamballerie X, 2001. A flea-associated rick-ettsia pathogenic for humans. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 7 : 73–81. [Google Scholar]
  7. Marquez FJ, Muniain MA, Perez JM, Pachon J, 2002. Presence of Rickettsia felis in the cat flea from southwestern Europe. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 8 : 89–91. [Google Scholar]
  8. Oliveira RP, Galvao MA, Mafra CL, Chamone CB, Calic SB, Silva SU, Walker DH, 2002. Rickettsia felis in Ctenocephalides spp. fleas, Brazil. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 8 : 317–319. [Google Scholar]
  9. Zavala-Velazquez JE, Zavala-Castro JE, Vado-Solis I, Ruiz-Sosa JA, Moron CG, Bouyer DH, Walker DH, 2002. Identification of Ctenocephalides felis fleas as a host of Rickettsia felis, the agent of a spotted fever rickettsiosis in Yucatan, Mexico. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2 : 69–75. [Google Scholar]
  10. Rolain JM, Franc M, Davoust B, Raoult D, 2003. Molecular detection of Bartonella quintana, B. koehlerae, B. henselae, B. clarridgeiae, Rickettsia felis, and Wolbachia pipientis in cat fleas, France. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 9 : 338–342. [Google Scholar]
  11. Parola P, Miller S, McDaniel P, Telford SR, Rolain JM, Wong-srichanalai C, Raoult D, 2003. Emerging rickettsioses of the Thai-Myanmar border. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 9 : 592–595. [Google Scholar]
  12. Kenny MJ, Birtles RJ, Day MJ, Shaw SE, 2003. Rickettsia felis in the United Kingdom. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 9 : 1023–1024. [Google Scholar]
  13. Kelly PJ, Meads N, Theobald A, Fournier PE, Raoult D, 2004. Rickettsia felis, Bartonella henselae, and B. clarridgeiae, New Zealand. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 10 : 967–968. [Google Scholar]
  14. Blair PJ, Jiang J, Schoeler GB, Moron C, Anaya E, Cespedes M, Cruz C, Felices V, Guevara C, Mendoza L, Villaseca P, Summer JW, Richards AL, Olson JG, 2004. Characterization of spotted fever group rickettsiae in flea and tick specimens from northern Peru. J. Clin. Microbiol. 42 : 4961–4967. [Google Scholar]
  15. Galvao MA, Mafra C, Chamone CB, Calic SB, Zavala-Velazquez JE, Walker DH, 2004. Clinical and laboratorial evidence of Rickettsia felis infections in Latin America. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. 37 : 238–240. [Google Scholar]
  16. Schriefer ME, Sacci JB, Dumler JS, Bullen MG, Azad AF, 1994. Identification of a novel rickettsial infection in a patient diagnosed with murine typhus. J. Clin. Microbiol. 32 : 949–954. [Google Scholar]
  17. Zavala-Velazquez JE, Ruiz-Soza JA, Sanchez-Elias RA, Becerra-Carmona G, Walker DH, 2000. Rickettsia felis rick-ettsiosis in Yucatán. Lancet 356 : 1079–1080. [Google Scholar]
  18. Richter J, Fournier PE, Petridou J, Haussinger D, Raoult D, 2002. Rickettsia felis infection acquired in Europe and documented by polymerase chain reaction. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 8 : 207–208. [Google Scholar]
  19. Choi YJ, Jang WJ, Kim JH, Ryu JS, Lee SH, Park KH, Paik HS, Koh YS, Choi MS, Kim IS, 2005. Spotted fever group and typhus rickettsioses in humans, South Korea. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 11 : 237–244. [Google Scholar]
  20. Regnery RL, Spruill CL, Plikaytis BD, 1991. Genotypic identification of Rickettsiae and estimation of intraspecies sequence divergence for portions of two rickettsial genes. J. Bacteriol. 173 : 1576–1589. [Google Scholar]
  21. Fournier PE, Dumler JS, Greub G, Zhang J, Wu Y, Raoult D, 2003. Gene sequence-based criteria for identification of new Rickettsia isolates and description of Rickettsia heilongjiangen-sis sp. nov. J. Clin. Microbiol. 41 : 5456–5465. [Google Scholar]
  22. Higgins JA, Sacci JB, Schriefer ME, Endris RG, Azad AF, 1994. Molecular identification of rickettsia-like microorganisms associated with colonized cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis). Insect Mol. Biol. 3 : 27–33. [Google Scholar]
  23. Beninati T, Lo N, Noda H, Esposito F, Rizzoli A, Favia G, Gen-chi C, 2002. First detection of spotted fever group rickettsiae in Ixodes ricinus from Italy. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 8 : 983–986. [Google Scholar]
  24. Bouyer DH, Stenos J, Crocket-Valdes P, Moron CG, Popov V, Zavala-Velazquea JE, Foil LD, Stothard DR, Azad AF, Walker DH, 2001. Rickettsa felis: molecular characterization of a new member of the spotted fever group. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 51 : 339–347. [Google Scholar]
  25. Forbes BA, Hicks KE, 1996. Substances interfering with direct detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in clinical specimens by PCR: effects of bovine serum albumin. J. Clin. Microbiol. 34 : 2125–2128. [Google Scholar]
  26. Palmer GH, Brown WC, Rurangirwa FR, 2000. Antigenic variation in the persistence and transmission of the ehrlichia Ana-plasma marginale. Microbes Infect. 2 : 167–176. [Google Scholar]
  27. Reddy GR, Streck CP, 1999. Variability in the 28-kDa surface antigen protein multigene locus of isolates of the emerging disease agent Ehrlichia chaffeensis suggests that it plays a role in immune evasion. Mol. Cell. Biol. Res. Commun. 1 : 167–175. [Google Scholar]
  28. Andersson JO, Andersson SG, 1999. Genome degradation is an ongoing process in rickettsia. Mol. Biol. Evol. 16 : 1178–1191. [Google Scholar]
  29. Barbour AG, Restrepo BI, 2000. Antigenic variation in vector-borne pathogens. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 6 : 449–457. [Google Scholar]
  30. Paddock CD, Sumner JW, Comer JA, Zaki SR, Goldsmith CS, Goddard J, McLellan SL, Tamminga CL, Ohl CA, 2004. Rick-ettsia parkeri: a newly recognized cause of spotted fever rick-ettsiosis in the United States. Clin. Infect. Dis. 38 : 805–811. [Google Scholar]
  31. The Israeli Ministry of Health Annual Report. Available at http://www.health.gov.il./pages/default.asp?maincat=9&catId=40&PageId=2648.

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 03 Aug 2005
  • Accepted : 08 Nov 2005

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error