Rickettsia felis Infection in Febrile Children, Ghana

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017 Apr;96(4):783-785. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.16-0754. Epub 2017 Jan 23.


AbstractRickettsial infections are an underrecognized cause of febrile illness in sub-Saharan Africa. To evaluate the epidemiology and clinical features of rickettsial disease in pediatric patients in Ghana, we screened blood samples from febrile children aged less than 15 years presenting to an outpatient department in Ghana's Ashanti Region for the presence of rickettsial DNA. We detected Rickettsia felis in 7/470 (1.5%) blood samples, using two independent real-time polymerase chain reactions. No other Rickettsia species were found. R. felis was detected repeatedly in one patient, and coinfection with Plasmodium falciparum was found in 3/7 samples. Symptoms apart from fever included cough (6/7) and vomiting (4/7). None of the R. felis-positive patients reported a rash. This study is the first report on R. felis in Ghana and adds to the growing evidence for its widespread occurrence with and without malaria coinfection in sub-Saharan Africa.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Artemisinins / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria, Falciparum / complications
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Rickettsia Infections / complications
  • Rickettsia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Rickettsia Infections / microbiology*
  • Rickettsia felis / isolation & purification*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • artemisinine