Vector-borne rickettsioses represent emerging threats to public health worldwide. The aim of this work was the screening for the presence of Rickettsia spp. in the blood of dogs and cats from southern Portugal. A PCR product of the expected size was amplified from DNA extracts obtained from blood samples of 29 out of 225 (12.9%) cats and in 2 out of 375 (.5%) dogs using genus-specific primers targeting Rickettsia gltA. Rickettsia conorii israelensis was identified by phylogenetical analysis of partial ompB sequences, amplified from blood samples taken from both a cat and a dog. The obtained results reinforce the idea that domestic animals may act as sentinels for the presence of vector-borne Rickettsia spp. in a given geographical area. In addition, rickettsioses should be included in the differential diagnosis of canine and feline vector-borne diseases.
- R. conorii israelensis
- Rickettsia spp