Archive for the ‘Rickettsia’ Category

Study Shows 35% of Atypical Pneumonia in Chile Caused by Q Fever & Rickettsia

Evidence of Q Fever and Rickettsial Disease in Chile


Free PMC article


Q fever and rickettsial diseases occur throughout the world and appear to be emergent zoonoses in Chile. The diagnosis of these diseases is currently uncommon in Chile, as their clinical presentations are non-specific and appropriate diagnostic laboratory assays are of limited availability. During a recent outbreak of undiagnosed human atypical pneumonia, we serologically investigated a series of 357 cases from three regions of southern Chile. The aim was to identify those caused by Coxiella burnetii and/or Rickettsia spp. Serological analysis was performed by ELISA and an immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for acute and convalescence sera of patients. Our results, including data from two international reference laboratories, demonstrate that

  • 71 (20%) of the cases were Q fever
  • 44 (15%) were a likely rickettsial infection, although the rickettsial species could not be confirmed by serology
This study is the first report of endemic Q fever and rickettsial disease affecting humans in Chile.


For more on Q Fever:  

For more on Rickettsia:  

Novel Rickettsia Species Infecting Dogs, United States

Volume 26, Number 12—December 2020

Novel Rickettsia Species Infecting Dogs, United States

James M. Wilson, Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Nicholas B. Juhasz, Henry S. Marr, Joao Felipe de Brito Galvão, Carmela L. Pratt, and Barbara A. Qurollo


In 2018 and 2019, spotted fever was suspected in 3 dogs in 3 US states. The dogs had fever and hematological abnormalities; blood samples were Rickettsia seroreactive. Identical Rickettsia DNA sequences were amplified from the samples. Multilocus phylogenetic analysis showed the dogs were infected with a novel Rickettsia species related to human Rickettsia pathogens.


Important quote from study:

The cases were geographically distributed among 4 states; the dogs resided in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, but the dog from Illinois had traveled to a tick-infested area of Arkansas. The tick species were not identified, but ticks common to these states include Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, all of which are known to transmit Rickettsia (3). Haemophysalis longicornis, an invasive tick species recently confirmed in the United States, including in Tennessee and Arkansas, should be considered a potential vector for Rickettsia spp. (9,10).

Based on serologic cross-reactivity, presence of ompA, and phylogenetic tree analysis, the new Rickettsia sp. is an SFG Rickettsia, phylogenetically related to human pathogenic R. heilongjiangensis and R. massiliae, with only 95% identity to each (11,12). Thus, we report a previously unknown and unique Rickettsia sp. with clinical significance for dogs and potentially humans.

Because this novel Rickettsia cross-reacts with R. rickettsia on IFA, it could be underdiagnosed and more geographically widespread. Studies aimed at identifying the tick vector, potential animal reservoirs, and prevalence are ongoing. These 3 canine rickettsioses cases underscore the value of dogs as sentinels for emerging tickborne pathogens (13,14)

For more: ..ticks can transmit infectious Rickettsia virtually as soon as they attach to the host.

Detection of Potentially Pathogenic Bacteria From Castor Bean Ticks Carried By Italian Pets

Detection of potentially pathogenic bacteria from Ixodes ricinus carried by pets in Tuscany, Italy

Affiliations expand

Free PMC article


Background: Ticks are vectors of disease-causing pathogens that pose a serious threat to animals and people. Dogs and cats are exposed to tick infestation in multiple ways and can easily transport infected ticks into domestic environments and potentially transfer them to people. Pet owners are at increased risk of picking up ticks from their pets and developing tickborne diseases. This study aims to detect the presence of pathogens of potential public health interest in ticks removed from cats and dogs in Tuscany, Italy.

Methods: The collected ticks were screened for the presence of protozoan (Theileria species and Babesia species) and bacterial (Rickettsia species, Anaplasma species, Ehrlichia species, Chlamydia species, Bartonella species and Coxiella burnetii) pathogens using PCR.

Results: PCR and sequencing analysis revealed that

  • 3% of the ticks were PCR-positive for the presence of Rickettsia helvetica DNA
  • 5 %of ticks were PCR-positive for Bartonella henselae DNA
  • 46% of ticks were PCR-positive for Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia abortus DNA
  • None of the examined ticks was PCR-positive for Theileria species, Babesia species, Anaplasma species, Ehrlichia canis or Coxiella burnetii DNA

Conclusion: The results of this preliminary study highlight the importance of monitoring companion animals as indicators to evaluate the health status of their owners. Preventive measures are necessary to limit the spread of zoonotic pathogens from companion animals to people within the home environment.



Ixodes ricinus, aka the castor bean tick is considered a  European species of tick that can transmit the following:

Now, there is the potential of two strains of Chlamydia to be added the growing list, with nearly half of the ticks in the study carrying it.

What does this mean to patients?  Good question.  We may never know because researchers are too busy studying ‘climate change,’ to have time for such silly endeavors as uncovering the effects of polymicrobial illness on patients.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of ticks carrying chlamydia:

Here, researchers identify chlamydia along with other pathogens in Alzheimer’s:


Great read on the types of chlamydia: The first two are mentioned in the abstract:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis can be passed from one person to another via unprotected sexual intercourse. Pain English: this is a STD.
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae), a nonsexually transmitted disease that infects the lungs and causes bacterial pneumonia.
  • Chlamydia psittaci is another chlamydia strain that can lead to a rare condition called psittacosis, aka “parrot fever.”  Excerpt:


For more:  Great resources within link for tick prevention methods

Alberta Horse Owners Struggle With PHF  News Video Here

Alberta horse owners struggle with disease

Horse owners and veterinarians in Alberta are on alert after an outbreak of Potomac horse fever, which causes death in up to 30 percent of cases. The disease causes diarrhea, depression and intestinal problems and can occur after horses ingest snails, slugs and insects in their food. (See link for article)



Equine monocytic ehrlichiosis, or Equine neorickettsiosis is commonly known as Potomac horse fever (PHF).  

While PHF occurs typically in late spring and early fall in temperate areas, it is spreading and has been reported in over 40 states, Canada, and Europe.  It tends to occur near bodies of water:

The agent behind it is Neorickettsia risticii, found in flukes (flatworms) that develop through one stage in aquatic snails. Horses drinking from streams swallow them but they are also picked up by aquatic insects – the second stage (caddisflies, mayflies, damselflies, dragonflies) that might transmit it to horse as they graze.

The second link in the cycle are in bats and barn swallows (N. risticci has been found in their intestinal tracts) that feed on the aquatic insects. It is unknown if bat and barn swallow fecal material infects horses as well.

Potomac horse fever can be mild to life-threatening affecting intestinal cells and monocytes. It causes fever, poor appetite, depression, and diarrhea. Possible lameness with limb edema may occur as well as elevated heart rate, dark mucus membranes, sweating, and signs of mild colic.

PHF is confirmed by lab identification in blood or manure samples. It may be confused with salmonella and the horse should be considered contagious to both animals and humans until fecal salmonella tests are negative.

Treatment is antibiotics, particularly oxytetracycline, IV fluids, electrolyte therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain.

There was a 2005 outbreak in Minnesota. They theorize mayflies from the Missippi River were attracted to bright lights outside barns which blew into the show grounds and infected at least six horses. Other cases occured on area farms at the same time that had lights by horse barns.

Turn off lights when aquatic insects are hatching in summer.

For more:

According to this article, PHF is NOT considered contagious or is passed between horses with casual contact. If more than one horse is affected it is believed that they all consumed infected insects:

Two Exotic Disease-Carrying Ticks Identified in Rhode Island & First Case of Parasitic Soft Ticks Reported in New Jersey

Two Exotic Disease-Carrying Ticks Have Just Been Identified in Rhode Island

Sep 29, 2020

Local authorities in Rhode Island announced that two new tick species were identified on Block Island. The tick species were traced back to Eurasia and Asia origins.

Dr. Danielle Tufts from Columbia University identified the two species Haemaphysalis longicornis (Asian long-horned tick) and Haemaphysalis punctata (red sheep tick), reported the state’s Department of Environmental Management (DEM). (See link for article) 

Two Exotic Disease-Carrying Ticks Had Just Been Identified in Rhode Island

(Photo: Asian long-horned tick, adult female dorsal view climbing on a blade of grass – Photo by James Gathany; CDC)



Both ticks are considered live-stock pests but they can and do bite humans, transmitting diseases.  Farmers, hunters, and hikes are at greater risk.

  • The red sheep tick is identified with Tick paralysis, Tick Borne Encephalitis virus, Tribec virus, Bhanja virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, Babesia bovis, Theileria recondita, Coxiella burneti, Francisella tularensis. Babesia major, Babesia bigemina, Theileria mutans, Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma centrale

    Sheep: Babesia motasi, Theileria ovis


Red sheep tick, Adult female dorsal view

Bat tick found for the first time in New Jersey

Bat tick found for the first time in New Jersey

A tick species associated with bats has been reported for the first time in New Jersey and could pose health risks to people, pets and livestock, according to a Rutgers-led study in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

This species (Carios kelleyi) is a “soft” . Deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are an example of “hard” ticks.

“All ticks feed on blood and may transmit pathogens (disease-causing microbes) during feeding,” said lead author James L. Occi, a doctoral student in the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We need to be aware that if you remove from your belfry, attic or elsewhere indoors, ticks that fed on those bats may stay behind and come looking for a new source of blood. There are records of C. kelleyi biting humans.”  (See link for article)



A few important points:

  1. A related species, Carios jersey, was found in amber 2001
  2. C. kelleyi has been found in 29 states so far
  3. Public health risk remains unknown, but it has been found to be infected with harmful pathogens in other states
  4. There are reports of this tick feeding on humans
  5. The bat it feeds on regularly roosts in attics and barns
  6. It has been identified with rickettsia and borrelia (Lyme):
I can’t help but notice the bat connection, as well as the following:  The current pandemic has been accompanied by cases of other illnesses and diseases such as African Swine Flu, Ebola, Bubonic Plague, West Nile Virus, Dengue outbreaks around the world.