Genotypic identification of an undescribed spotted fever group rickettsia in Ixodes ricinus from southwestern Spain.

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  • 1 Estación Biológica Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Sevilla, Spain.

An undescribed rickettsia was directly analyzed with specific rickettsial molecular biology tools on Ixodes ricinus L. collected in different localities of the province of Cadiz (southwestern Spain). On the basis of the results of the citrate synthase (glta) gene, 190 kD-outer membrane protein (rOmpA) gene, and 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene partial sequence data, it was found that this rickettsia is sufficiently genetically distinct from other Rickettsia to be considered a distinct taxonomic entity. The isolation and culture of this organism, as well as comparative antigenic analysis, are required to ensure its conclusive taxonomic placement among spotted fever rickettsiae. The epidemiologic role of this new rickettsial agent and its possible pathogenicity to wild and domestic animals or humans is still unknown and needs to be investigated.