Other Flea Borne Pathogens and Parasites

Many of the flea-borne pathogens listed in Table II cause diseases in humans, with wild or domestic animals serving as reservoirs. These include plague, tularemia, murine typhus, Q fever, and sylvatic epidemic typhus. Infections of domestic animals with most of these pathogens can be nonapparent, febrile, or fatal, depending on the host species, its health, and the strain of pathogen involved.

Cats, for example, are typically susceptible to most strains of plague, whereas dogs usually are not.

Other pathogens of veterinary importance that have been isolated from, or detected in, fleas include lymphocytic choriomeningitis Virus, which affects many mammals, especially rodents, feline leukopenia virus, and the following bacterial agents: Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease; Listeria monocytogenes, the agent of listeriosis, mainly in ungulates; Brucella abortis, an agent of brucellosis, mainly in bovines; Pseudomonas mallei, the agent ofglanders in equines; and P. pseudoma-llei, the agent of melioidosis'm several mammals. However, the role of fleas as significant vectors of these pathogens is doubtful or undetermined. Other microorganisms known to occur in fleas and which may be transmitted to vertebrates include haemogregarine sporozoans, various rickettsial organisms, and miscellaneous symbionts. The protozoan Hepatozoon erhardovae is transmitted to European voles (Clethrionomys spp.) by at least five species of fleas. The parasite reproduces sexually in the hemocoel of fleas, where it develops to the sporocyst stage; transmission to voles occurs when they eat infected fleas during grooming. The related Hepatozoon species H. pitymysi and H. sciuri, which parasitize North American voles, Eurasian voles, and North American squirrels, respectively, have also been detected in fleas and are thought to be transmitted in a similar way.

The double-pored tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) normally develops as an adult parasite in the intestines of dogs, cats, and some wild carnivores. The most important intermediate flea hosts are the cat flea and dog flea, although the human flea can also serve in this capacity. In tropical Africa, a warthog flea (E. larina) is sometimes responsible for D. caninum infestations in domestic dogs. Infestations are usually initiated when animals consume parasitized fleas while grooming.

Two species of tapeworms that typically infest rats and mice as adults are the rodent tapeworm (Hymenolepis diminuta) and the dwarf tapeworm (H. nana). Rat fleas, especially the Oriental rat flea and the northern rat flea, serve as intermediate hosts. Infestations are initiated when infested fleas are eaten by the definitive rodent hosts.

The onchocercid nematode, Acanthocheilonema (formerly Dipetalonema) reconditum, which causes a relatively benign form of canine filariasis in many parts of the world, has been found in several species of fleas. The cat flea and dog flea are considered to be the principal

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