Conference abstract

Tick borne bacterial infections in Tunisia

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2017:4(7).08 Dec 2017.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2017.4.7.442

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Keywords: Tick borne infections, rickettsioses, Tunisia

Tick borne bacterial infections in Tunisia

Abir Znazen1,&

1Laboratory of Microbiology, Habib Bourguiba University Hospital of Sfax, Tunisia

&Corresponding author
Abir Znazen, Laboratory of Microbiology, Habib Bourguiba University Hospital of Sfax, Tunisia


Introduction: tick borne infections are caused by a variety of pathogens including bacteria viruses and protozoa that are transmitted through a tick bite. Rickettsioses are the most common vector borne diseases. They are considered as emerging and re-emerging infections. The diagnosis of Rickettsial infections remains challenging because of polymorphic and non-specific clinical presentations. On another hand, Rickettsia are intracellular bacteria, their isolation is difficult and limited to only reference laboratories.

Methods: systemic review of the world literature and national data concerning this disease.

Results: serology is the most widely used test in routine laboratory for the diagnosis of Rickettsial infections. However, serology offers only retrospective diagnosis and is needed just in late follow-up. Diagnosis of 13 Rickettsia infection would benefit from the use of the more rapid and sensitive method of quantitative real time PCR (qPCR). In our laboratory, all these techniques were used to clarify the epidemiology of Rickettsioses. In Tunisia, R. conorii. subsp conorii, the agent of Mediterranean Spotted Fever (MSF), was previously thought to be the unique species causing spotted fever rickettsiosis. A recent multicentric study (2012-2014) showed a high rate of infection by R. conorii. However, many other studies based on both serological and molecular techniques described a variety of other species causing rickettsioses. Thus, R. conorii subsp israelensis, causing more severe disease, was described both in patients and vectors in 2009. R. typhi, R. aeschlimannii and R. felis were also characterized in patients.

Conclusion: in the laboratory of entomology (Pasteur Institute of Tunis), a variety of Rickettsia species were characterized using molecular methods. Thus, in addition to R. conorii, R. monacensis and R. Helvetica were detected in Ixodes ricinus and recently R. massiliae in Rhipicephalus sanguineus.