Coxiella burnetii and Rickettsia conorii: Two zoonotic pathogens in peridomestic rodents and their ectoparasites in Nigeria

Joshua Kamani*, Gad Baneth, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Kosta Y. Mumcuoglu, Shimon Harrus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Rodents are hosts of numerous pathogenic agents of public health importance globally. Their ability to harbor these pathogens without showing overt clinical signs of disease has epidemiologic consequences. In some rural settings in Nigeria, humans and rodents do not only share feeds and abode, but the latter may end up on the table of the former as a source of protein, thereby increasing the risks of disease transmission. Molecular assays were used to detect and characterize two agents of zoonotic importance, Coxiella burnetii and Rickettsia spp. in 194 peridomestic rodents captured in a peri-urban setting in Nigeria, and 32 pools of ectoparasites removed from them, to determine their possible role in the epidemiology of these diseases in this country. Targeting and characterizing the insertion sequence IS1111, C. burnetii DNA was detected in 4 out of 194 (2.1%) rodents comprising 3 out of 121 (2.5%) Rattus norvegicus and 1 out of 48 (2.1%) Rattus rattus screened in this study. Rickettsia spp. DNA was detected in two Rhipicephalus sanginueus sensu lato pools (i.e. RT1 and RT4) using the citrate synthase (gltA) gene and further characterized by amplification and sequence analysis of six genes to determine their identity. The RT1 sample consistently gave 98-100% identity to Rickettsia conorii str. Malish 7 for the various genes and loci studied. However, the identity of RT4 could not be definitively determined due to variable identities to different Rickettsia spp. according to the gene or loci under consideration. Further isolation study to determine if the RT4 characterized is a new variant or a mixture of sequences of different rickettsiae within the pool will be worthwhile.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier GmbH


  • Coxiella
  • Ectoparasites
  • Nigeria
  • PCR
  • Rickettsia conorii
  • Rodents


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