A Serosurvey Of Cats For Rickettsia Antibodies

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Background. Rickettsia sp. bacteria are arthropod borne and a number of them are capable of causing human infections. A number of studies have indicated that domestic cats and dogs may potentially serve as reservoirs of several Rickettsia species and may contribute to human infections. The purpose of this study was to determine if cats in eastern Texas exhibited indications of rickettsial infection that could indicate a potential source of human exposure.

Methods and Findings. Serum collected from 188 cats across 3 counties in eastern Texas was subjected to ELISA assays to determine if antibodies to Rickettsia typhi were present. Overall, 30% of cats were seropositive for the R. typhi antigen used.

Conclusions. In the eastern Texas area a significant percentage of cats are seropositive for R. typhi and may represent a potential reservoir and source of human infections.

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