Ecology of fleas and their hosts in the trifinio of north-east Argentina: first detection of Rickettsia asembonensis in Ctenocephalides felis felis in Argentina
URDAPILLETA, M.; PECH-MAY, A.; LAMATTINA, D.; BURGOS, F.E.; BALCAZAR, E.D.; FERRARI, A.O.W.; LARESCHI, M.; SALOMÓN, O.D.
MEDICAL AND VETERINARY ENTOMOLOGY
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Fleas are important in public health due to their role as parasites and vectors of pathogens, including Rickettsia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diversity, abundance and prevalence of fleas and the presence of Rickettsia in the trifinio of north-east Argentina. Fleas from household and synanthropic animals were obtained from urban and periurban areas. They were taxonomically identified and samples of 227 fleas in 86 pools were analysed by polymerase chain reaction targeting the gltA and ompB genes of Rickettsia spp. The study revealed that Ctenocephalides felis felis was dominant on dogs, cats and opossums, with higher prevalence in the periurban area. The Shannon?Wiener and Morisita?Horn indices expressed differences in the diversity and similarity values of the absolute abundances of the species between the areas compared. DNA amplifications revealed 30.8% C. f. felis pools positive for Rickettsia spp. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the haplotype obtained was identical to Rickettsia asembonensis from Peru and Brazil. This is the first detection in Argentina of R. asembonensis that infects C. f. felis, and we emphasize the importance of conducting research from a ?One Health? perspective on the role of opossums and rodents in the integration of the transmission cycles of rickettsial bacteria.