Polygenic detection of Rickettsia felis in cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) from Israel

Omri Bauer, Gad Baneth, Tamar Eshkol, Susan E. Shaw, Shimon Harrus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The presence of Rickettsia felis, an emerging bacterial pathogen, was investigated in 79 cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) pools from Israel (5 to 20 fleas each) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of 5 different genes. Amplified targets included both metabolic (gltA and fusA) and surface antigen (ompA, ompB, and the 17-kDa antigen) genes. R. felis DNA was detected in 7.6% of the flea pools. Two genotypes similar in their housekeeping gene sequences but markedly different in their surface antigenic genetic milieus were characterized. This is the first detection of this flea-transmitted rickettsia within its vector in Israel and the Middle East. Although no clinical case has been reported in human beings in Israel to date, these findings suggest that this infection is prevalent in Israel.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)444-448
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


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