Evidence of rickettsial spotted fever and ehrlichial infections in a subtropical territory of Jujuy, Argentina.

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  • 1 Ministerio de Bienestar Social Area Epidemiologia, Departamento de Chagas y Patologia Regional, San Salador de Jujuy.

Between November 1993 and March 1994, a cluster 6 pediatric patients with acute febrile illnesses associated with rashes was identified in Jujuy Province, Argentina. Immunohistochemical staining of tissues confirmed spotted fever group rickettsial infection in a patient with fatal disease, and testing of serum of a patient convalescing from the illness by using an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) demonstrated antibodies reactive with spotted fever group rickettsiae. A serosurvey was conducted among 16 households in proximity to the index case. Of 105 healthy subjects evaluated by IFA, 19 (18%) demonstrated antibodies reactive with rickettsiae or ehrlichiae: 4 had antibodies reactive with Rickettsia rickettsii, 15 with Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and 1 with R. typhi. Amblyomma cajennense, a known vector of R. rickettsii in South America, was collected from pets and horses in the area. These results are the first to document rickettsial spotted fever and ehrlichial infections in Argentina.