Tick-borne Pathogens with Special Reference to a Possible Extra-Human Cycle of Epidemic Typhus Infection.
MARYLAND UNIV BALTIMORE DEPT OF MICROBIOLOGY
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The studies undertaken are fully counter to the recent and much quoted contention that ticks and domestic animals play a significant role in the ecology of epidemic typhus and, instead, strongly suggest that the serological data that had been presented in support of such a hypothesis are based upon artifacts. Thus, out of 861 Ethiopian livestock sera and 2,849 sera from Egyptian domestic animals tested by complement fixation CF in the program, none of the samples contained antibodies specific for rickettsiae of either epidemic typhus or murine typhus. Moreover, 821 of 822 sera from Egyptian donkeys were anticomplementary and therefore nonspecifically positive in CF tests. The identical or a similar anticomplementary substance, identified as IgM, accounted for the results reported as positive by earlier workers. These results indicate that such domestic animals could not serve as a reservoir or source of infection of ticks with R. prowazeki in nature. Modified author abstract