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Evaluation of possible epidemiological variables associated with the spatial distribution of Rickettsia rickettsii infection in dogs and ticks in an area endemic to Brazilian Spotted Fever in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo

Grant number: 18/01596-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2018
Effective date (End): April 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Bahia Labruna
Grantee:Lina de Campos Binder
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Between 2007 and 2015, 418 cases of Brazilian spotted Fever (BSF) were confirmed in the state of São Paulo, with a case fatality rate above 60%. The state presents very different scenarios regarding BSF epidemiology. In the interior of the state, the main vector is the Amblyomma sculptum tick (= Amblyomma cajennense sensu lato), the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) being the main host of Rickettsia rickettsii. In the metropolitan region of São Paulo (SPMR), the vector is Amblyomma aureolatum, and it has not been elucidated to date which vertebrate host could act as amplifier of R. rickettsii for this species of tick. Although the first cases of BSF in SPMR were reported as early as the 1920s, there are still a number of gaps in the knowledge about the epidemiology of BSF in the region. In order to fill these gaps, this project aims to identify risk factors for the infection of ticks and dogs by R. rickettsii in the recreational neighborhood of Borda do Campo, an endemic area for BSF in the Municipality of Santo André, in addition to investigating the possible role of the domestic dog as R. rickettsii amplification host for A. aureolatum adult ticks. To do this, the project will be divided into two fronts: (I) analysis of the spatial distribution of seropositive dogs for R. rickettsii in the recreational neighborhood of Borda do Campo; and (ii) experimental infection of dogs with R. rickettsii and evaluation of the ability of this vertebrate to act as host amplifier of the bacterium for A. aureolatum adult ticks. These results are expected to broaden the understanding of important aspects of BSF epidemiology in the SPMR. (AU)