Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 151  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 59-64

Molecular confirmation & characterization of Rickettsia conorii in north India: A report of three cases


1 Department of Medical Microbiology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Ashish Bhalla
Department of Internal Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Sector 12, Chandigarh 160 012
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_92_18

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Background & objectives: In India, spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) are an underdiagnosed cause of acute febrile illness (AFI). The non-specific Weil-Felix test is the first diagnostic modality for the diagnosis of SFGR in many laboratories due to the lack of advanced diagnostic facilities in developing countries. The aim of this study was to detect SFGR using molecular methods in the patients, presenting with AFI in a tertiary care centre in north India. Methods: Consecutive patients (>14 yr of age) with AFI were enrolled over a six month period. Standard investigations for common pathogens causing AFI in India (malaria, dengue, scrub typhus, leptospirosis and enteric fever) were carried out. In patients who were negative for all of the above investigations, blood was subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting outer membrane protein A (ompA) gene of Rickettsia. Results: Of the 51 patients with an undiagnosed aetiology, three were positive by ompA PCR. Two of the PCR products produced good sequences and BLAST identification confirmed them as Rickettsia conorii. The sequences of R. conorii reported from south India clustered with two previously reported novel rickettsial genotypes. The study sequences clustered in a group different from that of Rickettsia spp. of the south Indian sequences reported earlier. Interpretation & conclusions: This study showed the existence of R. conorii in north India. Testing for SFGR may be included in the diagnostic workup of AFI for better disease management.


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