A seroepidemiological survey was conducted to investigate the prevalence of antibodies reactive with the Ehrlichia canis and Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup antigens, and the spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae antigens in jackals in Israel (Canis aureus syriacus), to assess the possible role of the jackal in the epidemiology of these diseases. Fifty-three serum samples from jackals were assayed by the indirect immunofluorescence antibody test. Antibodies to E. canis were detected in 35.8% serum samples while 26.4% of the samples tested were positive to Ehrlichia chaffeensis. Twenty-six percent of the jackals tested were seropositive to E. phagocytophila, of which 5.7% were seropositive to E. phagocytophila alone without any seroreactivity to either E. canis or E. chaffeensis. Fifty-five percent of the jackals were seropositive to the SFG-rickettsiae antigens. The results suggest a high exposure rate of jackals in Israel to E. canis. Positive reactivity to E. chaffeensis was considered to be due to antigenic cross-reactions with E. canis. The study demonstrated for the first time the presence of E. phagocytophila antibodies in free-range jackals. The high incidence of antibodies to the SFG-rickettsiae and their relatively high antibody titers was suggestive of either recent or persistent infection. The possibility that jackals may play a role in the transmission of E. canis, E. phagocytophila and the SFG-rickettsiae for human and canine infections is discussed. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Ehrlichia canis
- Ehrlichia chaffeensis
- Ehrlichia phagocytophila-Ehrlichia equi genogroup
- Spotted fever