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    Spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae are obligatory intracellular bacteria that cause disease in humans and other animals. Ixodid ticks are the principal vectors of SFG rickettsiae. The present study aimed to determine the prevalence and species identity of SFG rickettsiae in ticks and horses from urban and rural areas of western Cuba using PCR assays. Tick samples, collected from 79 horses, consisted of 14 Amblyomma mixtum adults, 111 Dermacentor nitens adults and 19 pools of D. nitens nymphs (2-5 individuals/pool). The PCR results revealed the presence of Rickettsia spp. in 64% of the A. mixtum adults, 16% of the D. nitens adults, and 11% of the pooled samples of D. nitens nymphs. In contrast, Rickettsia spp. was not detected in any of the 200 horse blood samples included in this study. DNA sequence data of the rickettsial 17 kDa antigen gene showed that Rickettsia amblyommatis was present in A. mixtum; and Rickettsia felis in D. nitens. This is the first report of R. felis in D. nitens in Cuba. The present study extends our knowledge of the potential vector spectrum and distribution of SFG rickettsiae pathogens in western Cuba. © 2020 The Royal Entomological Society.


    A A Díaz-Sánchez, N B Chilton, L Roblejo-Arias, O Fonseca-Rodríguez, R Marrero-Perera, C P Diyes, M E M Yunik, E Lobo-Rivero, B Corona-González. Molecular detection and identification of spotted fever group rickettsiae in ticks collected from horses in Cuba. Medical and veterinary entomology. 2021 Jun;35(2):207-212

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    PMID: 32936461

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