Widespread Rickettsia spp. Infections in Ticks (Acari: Ixodoidea) in Taiwan

Chi Chien Kuo, Pei Yun Shu, Jung Jung Mu, Pei Lung Lee, Yin Wen Wu, Chien Kung Chung, Hsi Chieh Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Ticks are second to mosquitoes as the most important disease vectors, and recent decades have witnessed the emergence of many novel tick-borne rickettsial diseases, but systematic surveys of ticks and tick-borne rickettsioses are generally lacking in Asia.We collected and identified ticks from small mammal hosts between 2006 and 2010 in different parts of Taiwan. Rickettsia spp. infections in ticks were identified by targeting ompB and gltA genes with nested polymerase chain reaction. In total, 2,732 ticks were collected from 1,356 small mammals. Rhipicephalus haemaphysaloides Supino (51.8% of total ticks), Haemaphysalis bandicota Hoogstraal & Kohls (28.0%), and Ixodes granulatus Supino (20.0%) were the most common tick species, and Rattus losea Swinhoe (44.7% of total ticks) and Bandicota indica Bechstein (39.9%) were the primary hosts. The average Rickettsia infective rate in 329 assayed ticks was 31.9% and eight Rickettsia spp. or closely related species were identified. This study shows that rickettsiae-infected ticks are widespread in Taiwan, with a high diversity of Rickettsia spp. circulating in the ticks. Because notifiable rickettsial diseases in Taiwan only include mite-borne scrub typhus and flea-borne murine typhus, more studies are warranted for a better understanding of the real extent of human risks to rickettsioses in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1096-1102
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1


  • Rickettsia
  • Taiwan
  • mammal host
  • rickettsiosis
  • tick

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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