Rickettsia felis in cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis parasitizing opossums, San Bernardino County, California

Authors

  • K. F. ABRAMOWICZ,

    1. Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
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    • The findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • J. W. WEKESA,

    1. Division of Environmental Health Services, Department of Public Health, Mosquito and Vector Control Program, San Bernardino, CA, U.S.A.
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  • C. N. NWADIKE,

    1. Division of Environmental Health Services, Department of Public Health, Mosquito and Vector Control Program, San Bernardino, CA, U.S.A.
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  • M. L. ZAMBRANO,

    1. Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
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    • The findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • S. E. KARPATHY,

    1. Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
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    • The findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • D. CECIL,

    1. Division of Geographic Information, Department of Information Services, San Bernardino, CA, U.S.A.
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  • J. BURNS,

    1. California Department of Public Health, Center for Infectious Diseases, Vector-Borne Disease Section, Ontario, CA, U.S.A.
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  • R. HU,

    1. California Department of Public Health, Center for Infectious Diseases, Vector-Borne Disease Section, Ontario, CA, U.S.A.
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  • M. E. EREMEEVA

    Corresponding author
    1. Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
      Marina Eremeeva, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, U.S.A. Tel.: +1 912 478 0504; Fax: +1 912 478 0171; E-mail: meremeeva@georgiasouthern.edu
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    • The findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Marina Eremeeva, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, U.S.A. Tel.: +1 912 478 0504; Fax: +1 912 478 0171; E-mail: meremeeva@georgiasouthern.edu

Abstract

Los Angeles and Orange Counties are known endemic areas for murine typhus in California; however, no recent reports of flea-borne rickettsioses are known from adjacent San Bernardino County. Sixty-five opossums (Didelphis virginiana) were trapped in the suburban residential and industrial zones of the southwestern part of San Bernardino County in 2007. Sixty out of 65 opossums were infested with fleas, primarily cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché, 1835). The flea minimum infection rate with Rickettsia felis was 13.3% in pooled samples and the prevalence was 23.7% in single fleas, with two gltA genotypes detected. In spite of historic records of murine typhus in this area, no evidence for circulation of R. typhi in fleas was found during the present study. Factors contributing to the absence of R. typhi in these cat fleas in contrast to its presence in cat fleas from Orange and Los Angeles Counties are unknown and need to be investigated further in San Bernardino County.

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