Detection of Rickettsiae in Engorged Ticks from Small Mammals in Malaysia

  • Madinah Adrus
  • Mariana Ahamad
  • Mohd Tajuddin Abdullah
Keywords: Engorged ticks, health risk, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Rickettsiae


Rickettsiae are intracellular bacteria found in ectoparasites such as ticks, lice, fleas, mites and chiggers that can
cause emerging infectious diseases throughout the world. There is lacking of information on their distribution
and the tick vectors involved. The aim of this study is therefore to determine whether engorged ticks extracted
from small mammals (Insectivora, Rodentia and Scandentia) from 15 locations of study areas have any potential
health risks to the public. Forty-eight engorged ticks were tested for the presence of rickettsiae DNA using
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) targeting a fragment of the rickettsial gene citrate synthase gene (gltA). There
was no DNA of rickettsiae detected from the ticks. Further investigations are needed in order to generate more
comprehensive information on the potential distribution of rickettsial disease in different locations and habitats
that can establish an epidemiological data of rickettsiae in Malaysia.