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Keywords:

  • tick;
  • flea;
  • mite;
  • spotted fever Rickettsia;
  • Europe

Abstract

Mediterranean spotted fever due to Rickettsia conorii conorii was thought, for many years, to be the only tick-borne rickettsial disease prevalent in southern and eastern Europe. However, in recent years, six more species or subspecies within the spotted fever group of the genus Rickettsia have been described as emerging pathogens in this part of the world. Tick-borne agents include Rickettsia conorii israelensis, Rickettsia conorii caspia, Rickettsia aeschlimannii, Rickettsia slovaca, Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae and Rickettsia massiliae. Many Rickettsia of unknown pathogenicity have also been detected from ticks and could represent potential emerging pathogens to be discovered in the future. Furthermore, a new spotted fever rickettsia, Rickettsia felis, was found to be associated with cat fleas and is an emerging human pathogen. Finally, the mite-transmitted Rickettsia akari, the agent of rickettsialpox, is also known to be prevalent in Europe. We present here an overview of these rickettsioses, focusing on emerging diseases.