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A Cluster of Cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in an Area Of Colombia Not Known to be Endemic for This Disease

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  • 1 Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia;
  • | 2 The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;
  • | 3 Hospital San Vicente Fundación, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia;
  • | 4 Gobernación de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia;
  • | 5 Universidade de São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
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Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) has been reported in Colombia since 1937. Most recent outbreaks were in 2006–2008, followed by the absence of recognized cases. This report describes new clinical cases of RMSF and epidemiologic investigations. Medical records were reviewed, and fieldwork, serological and molecular diagnostic testing, and bacterial isolation were performed. Fever, hypotension, abdominal discomfort, and rash accompanied by thrombocytopenia and leukopenia were the most characteristic manifestations. Two convalescent sera from the index case and sera from two dogs revealed high anti-spotted fever group Rickettsia antibody titers. Rickettsia rickettsii was isolated from case 4. Cases 2 and 3 were identified by epidemiological connection with the index case. Thus, a new cluster of cases of RMSF was identified in Antioquia, Colombia, with the occurrence of fatal cases, which indicates the active circulation of the bacteria and a potential risk for the population.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Andrés F. Londoño, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd., Galveston, TX 77555. E-mail: pipelb@gmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Andrés F. Londoño, Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Veterinarias—CENTAURO, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia and Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, E-mail: pipelb@gmail.com. Catalina Arango-Ferreira, Departamento de Pediatría, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia and Departamento de Pediatría, Hospital San Vicente Fundación, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, E-mail: catarango52@hotmail.com. Leidy Y. Acevedo-Gutiérrez, Luis E. Paternina, and Juan D. Rodas, Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Veterinarias—CENTAURO, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, E-mails: leidyyoana@gmail.com, lepaterninat@gmail.com, and jdavid.rodas@udea.edu.co. Carlos Montes and Iván Ruiz, Dirección de Factores de Riesgo, Referente de Zoonosis, Gobernación de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, E-mails: ivan.ruiz@antioquia.gov.co and carlos.montes@medellin.gov.co. Marcelo B. Labruna, Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, E-mail: labruna@usp.br. Francisco J. Díaz, Grupo de Investigación – Inmunovirología, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, E-mail: franciscodiaz314@gmail.com. David H. Walker, Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, E-mail: dwalker@utmb.edu.

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