The prevalence of Rickettsia felis DNA in fleas collected from cats and dogs in the UK

Swaid Abdullah, Philippa Lait, Chris Helps, Hannah Newbury, Richard Wall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In a large-scale survey in the UK, recruited veterinary practices were asked to inspect client-owned cats and dogs, selected at random between April and June 2018, following a standardised flea inspection protocol. A total of 326 veterinary practices participated and 812 cats and 662 dogs were examined during the 3-month period. Fleas were collected, identified to species level and fleas of the same species collected from a single animal were pooled together and treated as a single sample. A total of 470 pooled flea samples were screened by PCR and DNA sequence analysis for a subset of Rickettsia species including R. felis and R. typhi. On analysis, 27 (5.7%) of the pooled flea samples were positive for R. felis DNA; these were predominantly in the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, but one dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis was also positive for this pathogen.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109143
Number of pages3
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • emerging disease
  • PCR
  • pet
  • Siphonaptera
  • surveillance
  • vector
  • zoonosis

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