Short report: prevalence of antibodies against spotted fever, murine typhus, and Q fever rickettsiae in humans living in Zambia

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1999 Jul;61(1):70-2. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.1999.61.70.


The causative agents of rickettsial diseases (Rickettsia conorii, R. typhi, and Coxiella burnetii) have been reported throughout the African continent. However, there have been no reports on epidemiologic surveys of these infections in Zambia. This study was designed to clarify the prevalence of three rickettsioses in 377 humans in Zambia. The seroprevalence of antibodies against R. conorii, R. typhi, and C. burnetii was 16.7%, 5.0%, and 8.2%, respectively. The rates of antibody positivity against R. conorii and C. burnetii were higher in the eastern (23.1% and 11.8%) and western (16.8% and 7.4%) areas of Zambia than in the northern (3.0% and 3.0%) area of this country. There was little difference among the three areas in the distribution of antibodies against R. typhi. Since cattle breeding is more extensive in the western and eastern areas than in the northern area, it is thought that cattle-breeding areas are foci of R. conorii and C. burnetii infections in Zambia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Boutonneuse Fever / epidemiology*
  • Boutonneuse Fever / immunology
  • Cattle
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coxiella burnetii / pathogenicity*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Q Fever / epidemiology*
  • Q Fever / immunology
  • Rickettsia conorii / pathogenicity*
  • Rickettsia typhi / pathogenicity*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Typhus, Endemic Flea-Borne / epidemiology*
  • Typhus, Endemic Flea-Borne / immunology
  • Zambia / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial