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Human Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia Infecting Yaks (Bos grunniens) in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Area

Qinghai Academy of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Centre for Biomedicine and Infectious Diseases, Qinghai University, State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Xining 810016, China
National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-8555, Japan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equally contributed.
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 249;
Received: 9 March 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 26 March 2020 / Published: 28 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Area (QTPA) is a plateau with the highest average altitude, located in Northwestern China. There is a risk for interspecies disease transmission, such as spotted fever rickettsioses. However, information on the molecular characteristics of the spotted fever group (SFG) Rickettsia spp. in the area is limited. This study performed screenings, and detected the DNA of human pathogen, SFG Rickettsia spp., with 11.3% (25/222) infection rates in yaks (Bos grunniens). BLASTn analysis revealed that the Rickettsia sequences obtained shared 94.3–100% identity with isolates of Rickettsia spp. from ticks in China. One Rickettsia sequence (MN536161) had 100% nucleotide identity to two R. raoultii isolates from Chinese Homo sapiens, and one isolate from Qinghai Dermacentor silvarum. Meanwhile, another Rickettsia sequence (MN536157) shared 99.1–99.5% identity to one isolate from Dermacentor spp. in China. Furthermore, the phylogenetic analysis of SFG Rickettsia spp. ompA gene revealed that these two sequences obtained from yaks in the present study grouped with the R. slovaca and R. raoultii clades with isolates identified from Dermacentor spp. and Homo sapiens. Our findings showed the first evidence of human pathogen DNA, SFG Rickettsia spp., from animals, in the QTPA. View Full-Text
Keywords: fever rickettsioses; human SFG Rickettsia; Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau; yak fever rickettsioses; human SFG Rickettsia; Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau; yak
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Jian, Y.; Li, J.; Adjou Moumouni, P.F.; Zhang, X.; Tumwebaze, M.A.; Wang, G.; Cai, Q.; Li, X.; Wang, G.; Liu, M.; Li, Y.; Ma, L.; Xuan, X. Human Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia Infecting Yaks (Bos grunniens) in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Area. Pathogens 2020, 9, 249.

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