Fleas from domestic dogs and rodents in Rwanda carry Rickettsia asembonensis and Bartonella tribocorum

J. Nziza, J. C. Tumushime, M. Cranfield, A. E. Ntwari, D. Modrý, A. Mudakikwa, Kirsten Vk Gilardi, J. Šlapeta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Ctenocephalides
  • flea-borne
  • gltA
  • ompA
  • real-time PCR
  • ssrA
  • Xenopsylla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science


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