Detection of Bartonella and Rickettsia in small mammals and their ectoparasites in México

Sokani Sánchez-Montes, Martín Yair Cabrera-Garrido, César A. Ríos-Muñoz, Ali Zeltzin Lira-Olguin, Roxana Acosta-Gutiérrez, Mario Mata-Galindo, Kevin Hernández-Vilchis, D. Melissa Navarrete-Sotelo, Pablo Colunga-Salas, Livia León-Paniagua, Ingeborg Becker


Fleas and sucking lice are important vectors of multiple pathogens causing major epidemics worldwide.  However these insects are vectors of a wide range of largely understudied and unattended pathogens, especially several species of bacteria’s of the genera Bartonella and Rickettsia.  For this reason the aim of the present work was to identify the presence and diversity of Bartonella and Rickettsia species in endemic murine typhus foci in Hidalgo, México.  A cross-sectional study was carried out to collect small mammals and their associated ectoparasites during October, 2014.  Samples of liver and ear of hosts, and ectoparasites were fixed in absolute ethanol and examined to identify the presence of Bartonella and Rickettsia DNA by the amplification of specific fragments of the gltA and ompB genes using conventional PCR.  The recovered sequences were compared with those deposited in GenBank, and phylogenetic analyzes were carried out to identify the position of the pathogens detected with respect to the valid species previously reported worldwide.  A total of 47 fleas and 172 sucking lice, belonging to five families (Ceratophyllidae, Leptopsyllidae, Ctenophtalmidae, Hoplopleuridae, Polyplacidae) and related to six species were collected from 40 rodents of four species and one shrew.  Only four hosts (two P. beatae, and two R. norvergicus) were positive to Bartonella elizabethae, Bartonella vinsonii and Rickettsia typhi.  In the case of ectoparasites, 23 specimens of two flea species (Peromyscopsylla hesperomys and Plusaetis mathesoni) tested positive for B. vinsonii.  No evidence of Bartonella or Rickettsia was detected in any lice.  Our findings represent the first record of Bartonella elizabethae a confirmed zoonotic pathogen causing endocarditis in México and several new associations of Bartonella with Mexican flea species, which highlight the importance of the establishment of active entomological surveillance in wildlife.

Palabras clave

Bartonella elizabethae; emerging diseases; Rickettsia typhi; small mammals; vectors.

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Bartonella elizabethae; emerging diseases; Rickettsia typhi; small mammals; vectors.

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THERYA es publicada por la Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología A. C.  Se distribuye bajo una Licencia de Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivar 4.0 Internacional.

DERECHOS DE AUTOR Y DERECHOS CONEXOS, THERYA es una publicación digital cuatrimestral editada por la Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología A. C.  Hacienda Vista Hermosa 107, Colonia Villa Quietud, Coyoacan 04960.  Distrito Federal, México.  Telefono (612) 123-8486,  Editor responsable: Dr. Sergio Ticul Álvarez Castañeda (  Reservas de Derechos al Uso Exclusivo No. 04-2009-112812171700-102, ISSN: 2007-3364 ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional de Derechos de Autor.  Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Unidad de informática de la Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología A. C.  Dr. Sergio Ticul Álvarez Castañeda.  Instituto Politécnico Nacional 195.  La Paz, Baja California Sur, C. P. 23096.  Tel 612 123 8486.