Volume 74, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The human body louse is currently recognized as a vector of , , and . Previous studies have reported the isolation of from the body lice of homeless patients. To study how the body louse acquires , we infected a rabbit by infusing 2 × 10 colony-forming units of the louse strain of . Two hundred body lice were infected by feeding on the bacteremic rabbit and compared with 200 uninfected lice and two groups of 200 lice feeding on rabbits infected either with another strain of or . Each louse group received maintenance feedings once a day on another seronegative rabbit. Body lice that fed on rabbits infused with each species demonstrated a generalized infection. The body lice did not transmit their infection to the nurse rabbit by bite while feeding or to their progeny (eggs and larvae). The lice excreted living species within their feces. Only the louse strain of was pathogenic for the body louse. An increased mortality rate was observed between the second and third days post-infection; however, they remained infected for their lifespan.


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  • Received : 13 Jul 2004
  • Accepted : 19 Nov 2004

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