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R. felis–associated Uneruptive Fever | CDC EID

EID Journal Home > Volume 16, Number 7–July 2010

Volume 16, Number 7–July 2010
Rickettsia felis–associated Uneruptive Fever, Senegal
Cristina Socolovschi, Oleg Mediannikov, Cheikh Sokhna, Adama Tall, Georges Diatta, Hubert Bassene, Jean-François Trape, and Didier Raoult
Author affiliations: Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, Marseille, France (C. Socolovschi, O. Mediannikov, D. Raoult); Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, Dakar, Senegal (O. Mediannikov, C. Sokhna, G. Diatta, H. Bassene, J.-F. Trape); and Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Dakar (A. Tall)

Suggested citation for this article

During November 2008–July 2009, we investigated the origin of unknown fever in Senegalese patients with a negative malaria test result, focusing on potential rickettsial infection. Using molecular tools, we found evidence for Rickettsia felis–associated illness in the initial days of infection in febrile Senegalese patients without malaria.
Flea-borne spotted fever is widely distributed throughout the world (1,2). The causative agent is Rickettsia felis, an obligate intracellular bacterium (2,3). Usually R. felis infection causes mild to moderate disease characterized by fever, cutaneous rash (sometimes with an inoculation eschar), and neurologic and digestive signs (1–3). The pathogen has been detected in numerous arthropods, but the main reservoirs are Ctenocephalides spp. fleas, which are ectoparasites of domestic cats and dogs (2). Mammals that carry fleas around humans contribute to accidental infection of humans with R. felis after flea bites (2,4).

R. felis infection is generally diagnosed on the basis of both serologic assays and bacterial DNA detection by PCR (2–4). In Africa, human R. felis infections have been reported in Tunisia (5) but not in Senegal. One case of murine typhus, induced by R. typhi, was reported in Spain in an immigrant from Senegal (6). Recently, the high incidence of rickettsial diseases was noted in international travelers from sub-Saharan Africa (7). However, because rickettsiosis often is misdiagnosed, in the incidence of arthropod-borne spotted fever in humans in Africa may be underestimated (4).

The objective of our study was to investigate the origin of unknown fever in Senegalese patients who had a negative test result for malaria. We focused on potential Rickettsia spp. infection as a cause of fever.

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R. felis–associated Uneruptive Fever | CDC EID

Suggested Citation for this Article
Socolovschi, C, Mediannikov O, Sokhna C, Tall A, Diatta G, Bassene H, et al. Rickettsia felis–associated uneruptive fever, Senegal. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2010 Jul [date cited].

DOI: 10.3201/eid1607.100070

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