The epidemiology of Rickettsia felis infecting fleas of companion animals in eastern Australia
AuthorTeoh, YT; Hii, SF; Graves, S; Rees, R; Stenos, J; Traub, RJ
Source TitleParasites and Vectors
Agriculture and Food Systems
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsTeoh, Y. T., Hii, S. F., Graves, S., Rees, R., Stenos, J. & Traub, R. J. (2018). The epidemiology of Rickettsia felis infecting fleas of companion animals in eastern Australia. PARASITES & VECTORS, 11 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-2737-4.
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/LP130100565
BACKGROUND: Flea-borne spotted fever (FBSF) caused by Rickettsia felis is an arthropod-borne zoonosis. This study aimed to determine the prevalence, primary species and genotype(s) of R. felis infecting fleas from dogs and cats. RESULTS: All fleas were identified as Ctenocephalides felis felis. All rickettsial DNA detected in fleas was identified as being 100% homologous to R. felis URRWXCal2, with positivity within tropical, subtropical and temperate regions noted at 6.7%, 13.2% and 15.5%, respectively. Toy/small breed dogs were found to be at a lower odds of harboring R. felis-positive fleas compared with large breed dogs on univariate analysis, while DMH and pedigree breed cats were at a lower odds compared to DSH cats. Cooler minimum temperature ranges of between 15 to 20 °C and between 8 to 15 °C increased the odds of R. felis positivity in fleas, as did a constrained maximum temperature range of between 27 to 30 °C on multivariable analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Environmental temperature may play a part in influencing R. felis prevalence and infectivity within its flea host. Regional climatic differences need to be considered when approaching public health risk mitigation strategies for FBSF.
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