Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Molecular detection of Rickettsia in ectoparasites (Siphonaptera and Phthiraptera) of domestic and feral pigs from Argentina.

Abstract

Rickettsioses are distributed among a variety of hematophagous arthropods, and represent an emergent threat. The presence of rickettsial bacteria in ectoparasites collected from pigs from Argentina is still unknown. This study investigated the presence and identity of Rickettsia spp. in fleas, Pulex irritans, and sucking lice, Haematopinus suis, of domestic and feral pigs, Sus scrofa, from Central-Northern Argentina, through the genes gltA and ompB. Rickettsial bacteria were detected in 50% of fleas and 24% of lice. The BLASTn analysis of the ompB gene fragments in P. irritans samples showed identities 99% and 100% with R. felis. Positive samples of H. suis were 99% similar with species from the spotted fever group, future amplifications of a more polymorphic fragment of the ompB gene will allow to corroborate the identity of the Rickettsia species present in these lice samples. The Rickettsia spp. reported in the present study are having eventually been associated with cases of human diseases, and the circulation of these agents in arthropods has already been reported in several countries. Therefore, the identification of circulating pathogenic agents, such as reported in this study, is crucial for development of preventive measures for the control of ectoparasite-borne rickettsiosis diseases. Further studies, using serology techniques, will be allow to explore the ability of pigs as a possible Rickettsia reservoir and its role as part of transmission cycle of Rickettsia spp. in the studied scenarios.