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Keywords:

  • rickettsioses;
  • ticks;
  • fleas;
  • lice;
  • Rickettsia africae;
  • Rickettsia conorii;
  • Rickettsia aeschlimannii;
  • Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae;
  • Rickettsia prowazekii;
  • Rickettsia felis;
  • Rickettsia massiliae

Abstract: Although rickettsioses are among the oldest known vector-borne zoonoses, several species or subspecies of rickettsias have been identified in recent years as emerging pathogens throughout the world including in sub-Saharan Africa. To date, six tick-borne spotted fever group pathogenic rickettsias are known to occur in sub-Saharan Africa, including Rickettsia conorii conorii, the agent of Mediterranean spotted fever; R. conorii caspia, the agent of Astrakhan fever; R. africae, the agent of African tick-bite fever; R. aeschlimannii; R. sibirica mongolitimonae; and R. massiliae. On the other hand, fleas have long been known as vectors of the ubiquitous murine typhus, a typhus group rickettsiosis induced by R. typhi. However, a new spotted fever rickettsia, R. felis, has also been found to be associated with fleas, to be a human pathogen, and to be present in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, R. prowazekii the agent of louse-borne epidemic typhus continues to strikes tens to hundreds of thousands of persons who live in Sub-Saharan with civil war, famine and poor conditions. We present an overview of these rickettsioses occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the epidemiological aspects of emerging diseases.