Laboratory diagnostics of Rickettsia infections in Denmark 2008-2015

Susanne Schjørring, Martin Tugwell Jepsen, Camilla Adler Sørensen, Palle Valentiner-Branth, Bjørn Kantsø, Randi Føns Petersen, Ole Skovgaard, Karen Angeliki Krogfelt

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Rickettsiosis is a vector-borne disease caused by bacterial species in the genusRickettsia.Ticks in Scandinavia are reported to be infected withRickettsia, yet only a few Scandinavian humancases are described, and rickettsiosis is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determinethe prevalence of rickettsiosis in Denmark based on laboratory findings. We found that in the Danishindividuals who tested positive forRickettsiaby serology, the majority (86%; 484/561) of the infectionsbelonged to the spotted fever group. In contrast, we could confirm 13 of 41 (32%) PCR-positiveindividuals by sequencing and identified all of these asR. africae, indicating infections after travelexposure. These 13 samples were collected from wound/skin material. In Denmark, approximately85 individuals test positive forRickettsiaspp. annually, giving an estimated 26% (561/2147) annualprevalence among those suspected of rickettsiosis after tick bites. However, without clinical data and a history of travel exposure, a true estimation of rickettsiosis acquired endemically by tick bites cannot be made. Therefore, we recommend that both clinical data and specific travel exposure beincluded in a surveillance system of Rickettsiainfection
Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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