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Epidemiology of Spotted Fever Group and Typhus Group Rickettsial Infection in the Amazon Basin of Peru

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  • 1 U.S. Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Iquitos and Lima, Peru; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; University of California, Davis, California; Instituto Veterinario de Investigaciones Tropicales y de Altura, Iquitos, Peru; U.S. Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

A seroprevalence study for IgG antibodies against spotted fever group (SFGR) and typhus group (TGR) Rickettsia among humans and domestic pets was conducted in the city of Iquitos, located in the Amazon basin of Peru. Of 1,195 human sera analyzed, 521 (43.6%) and 123 (10.3%) were positive for SFGR and TGR antibodies, respectively. District of residence and participant age were associated with antibody positivity for both groups, whereas rodent sightings in the home were associated with TGR antibody positivity. Of the 71 canines tested, 42 (59.2%) were positive for SFGR antibodies, and two (2.8%) were positive for TGR antibodies; one active SFGR infection was detected by polymerase chain reaction. An uncharacterized SFGR species was detected in 95.9% (71/74) of Ctenocephalides felis pools collected from domestic pets. These data suggest that rickettsial transmission is widespread in Iquitos. Rickettsia species should be further explored as potential causes of acute febrile illnesses in the region.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Tadeusz J. Kochel, 3230 Lima Pl, Washington, DC 20521-3230. E-mail: tad.kochel@med.navy.mil

Financial support: This study was funded by the United States Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Systems Research Program, WORK UNIT NUMBER: 847705.82000.25GB.B0016. The sponsor had no role in this study other than providing funding.

Disclosure: The study protocol (PJT.NMRCD.014) was approved by the US NMRCD Institutional Review Board in compliance with all U.S. Federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects. The experiments reported herein (NMRCD07-07) were conducted in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and in accordance with the principles set forth in the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals,” Institute of Laboratory Animals Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 1996.

Authors' addresses: Brett M. Forshey, Claudio Rocha, Helvio Astete, Joel M. Montgomery, David E. Bentzel, and Tadeusz J. Kochel, US Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Lima, Peru, E-mails: brett.forshey@med.navy.mil, claudiorochacaulderon@gmail.com, astetehelvio@gmail.com, joel.montgomery@med.navy.mil, david.bentzel@med.navy.mil, and tad.kochel@med.navy.mil. Allison Stewart, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, E-mail: allikat@umich.edu. Amy C. Morrison and Dominique Eza, Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA, E-mails: amy.aegypti@gmail.com and dominiqueeeza@yahoo.co.uk. Hugo Galvez, Instituto Veterinario de Investigaciones Tropicales y de Altura, Iquitos, Peru, E-mail: ivitaiq@terra.com.pe. Hua-Wei Chen, Chien-Chung Chao, and Wei-Mei Ching, Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department, Infectious Diseases Directorate, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, MD, E-mails: Hua-Wei.Chen@med.navy.mil, Chien-Chung.Chao@med.navy.mil, and WeiMei.Ching@med.navy.mil. Joel M. Montgomery, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: joel.montgomery@med.navy.mil.

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