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Rickettsia felis: A Review of Transmission Mechanisms of an Emerging Pathogen

Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2017, 2(4), 64;
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past and Present Threat of Rickettsial Diseases)
PDF [656 KB, uploaded 19 December 2017]


Rickettsia felis is an emerging pathogen of the transitional group of Rickettsia species and an important cause of febrile illness in Africa. Since the organism’s original discovery in the early 1990s, much research has been directed towards elucidating transmission mechanisms within the primary host and reservoir, the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). Several mechanisms for vertical and horizontal transmission within this vector have been thoroughly described, as well as transmission to other arthropod vectors, including other species of fleas. However, while a growing number of human cases of flea-borne spotted fever are being reported throughout the world, a definitive transmission mechanism from arthropod host to vertebrate host resulting in disease has not been found. Several possible mechanisms, including bite of infected arthropods and association with infectious arthropod feces, are currently being investigated. View Full-Text
Keywords: Rickettsia felis; transmission; fleas Rickettsia felis; transmission; fleas

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Legendre, K.P.; Macaluso, K.R. Rickettsia felis: A Review of Transmission Mechanisms of an Emerging Pathogen. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2017, 2, 64.

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