Fleas (Siphonaptera) are ubiquitous blood-sucking parasites that transmit a range of vector-borne pathogens. The present study examined rodents (n = 29) and domestic dogs (n = 7) living in the vicinity of the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, for fleas, identified flea species from these hosts, and detected Bartonella (Rhizobiales: Bartonellaceae) and Rickettsia (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) DNA. The most frequently encountered flea on rodents was Xenopsylla brasiliensis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae). In addition, Ctenophthalmus (Ethioctenophthalmus) calceatus cabirus (Siphonaptera: Hystrichopsyllidae) and Ctenocephalides felis strongylus (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae) were determined using morphology and sequencing of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and cytochrome c oxidase subunit II genes (cox1 and cox2, respectively). Bartonella tribocorum DNA was detected in X. brasiliensis and Rickettsia asembonensis DNA (a Rickettsia felis-like organism) was detected in C. felis strongylus. The present work complements studies that clarify the distributions of flea-borne pathogens and potential role of fleas in disease transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. In the context of high-density housing in central sub-Saharan Africa, the detection of B. tribocorum and R. asembonensis highlights the need for surveillance in both rural and urban areas to identify likely reservoirs.
- real-time PCR
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science