Author(s): Cardeosa N, Segura F, Raoult D
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Abstract Mediterranean spotted fever is an endemic disease in Catalonia, Spain. A new spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsial strain (Bar29) of unknown pathogenicity for humans was isolated by our group, in 1996, from the dog brown tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Interestingly, Rickettsia conorii was not isolated in this study. The aim of the present study was to assess the possible pathogenic role of the Bar29 strain. To this purpose, serum samples from 15 patients with Mediterranean spotted fever were obtained and tested by immunofluorescence for antibodies against four related rickettsial strains (R. conorii, R. africae, R. massiliae, and Bar29). Eight of the studied sera reacted at high titers with only R. conorii and Bar29 antigens. For five of the eight sera, the titers against Bar29 were clearly higher than for R. conorii. Four of these sera were also studied by Western blot immunoassay to confirm a specific response. Two of these sera reacted with the high-molecular-mass specific proteins of Bar29 as well as with the low-molecular-mass region (LPS antigen) whereas their reactions with R. conorii were located only on bands of the LPS. This specific response would support the possible pathogenic role of the Bar29 strain for humans. According to this finding, spotted fever caused by R. conorii and rickettsial strain Bar29 may be present in our area. The epidemiological implications of spotted fever caused by R. conorii and by rickettsial strain Bar29 in the Catalonia deserve further studies with isolation and characterization of more rickettsial strains.
This article was published in Eur J Epidemiol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy