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    This study aimed to evaluate the infection of the marsupial Monodelphis domestica (the gray short-tailed opossum) by Rickettsia parkeri and its role as an amplifier of the bacterium for Amblyomma ticks. Ten M. domestica males were inoculated with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and 106 Vero cells infected with R. parkeri. In seven animals, inoculation was intramuscular, and in three intraperitoneal. One male (control) received 1 ml of the same vehicle used for inoculation intraperitoneally. The three animals inoculated intraperitoneally were infested with uninfected A. sculptum larvae and nymphs between the 2nd and 9th day post-infection (DPI). Parasitemia was monitored from the 3rd to 9th DPI by polymerase chain reaction, using primers for 17 kDa and ompA. The animals were also clinically evaluated. Of the animals infected intramuscularly, only one was blood-positive by the 5th DPI. The three animals infected intraperitoneally were blood-positive on the 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 9th DPI. Of the ten pools of recovered engorged ticks, six had positive bands. The kidney, liver, heart, and spleen of an intramuscularly infected animal were also positive. The rectal temperature of the animals tested increased only in the first three DPI. The animals inoculated intraperitoneally showed prostration, bristled hair, and weight loss. The study found that R. parkeri was capable of infecting M. domestica, which developed rickettsemia and caused infection in xenodiagnostic ticks. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


    Matheus Dias Cordeiro, Bruna de Azevedo Baêta, Marcio Barizon Cepeda, Adivaldo Henrique da Fonseca. Experimental infection of Monodelphis domestica with Rickettsia parkeri. Ticks and tick-borne diseases. 2020 May;11(3):101366

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    PMID: 31883908

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