Rickettsia felis

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Rickettsia felis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Alpha Proteobacteria
Order: Rickettsiales
Family: Rickettsiaceae
Genus: Rickettsia
Species: R. felis
Binomial name
Rickettsia felis
Bouyer et al., 2001[1] emend. La Scola et al., 2002[2]

Rickettsia felis or cat-flea typhus is a species of Rickettsia that causes flea-borne spotted fever in cats.[3] The bacteria can also infect humans and cause illness. Fleas are the vector carriers of the bacteria and it has been found in cat flea populations of North and South America, Southern Europe, Thailand and Australia. The host is usually infected by flea feces coming into contact with scratched or broken skin.[4]


Human cases of Rickettsia felis were diagnosed in Australia in 2009, these were the first reported human infections in Australia.[5] The infected individuals were family members who had been exposed to flea bites from infested kittens. In this cluster an otherwise healthy nine-year-old girl was admitted to hospital with fever and a rash. This later worsened three days later when her lungs filled with fluid and she was admitted to intensive care.[6]


  1. ^ Bouyer DH, Stenos J, Crocquet-Valdes P et al. (March 2001). "Rickettsia felis: molecular characterization of a new member of the spotted fever group". Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 51 (Pt 2): 339–47. doi:10.1099/00207713-51-2-339. PMID 11321078. 
  2. ^ La Scola B, Meconi S, Fenollar F, Rolain JM, Roux V, Raoult D (November 2002). "Emended description of Rickettsia felis (Bouyer et al. 2001), a temperature-dependent cultured bacterium". Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 52 (Pt 6): 2035–41. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.02070-0. PMID 12508865. 
  3. ^ Raoult, Didier; Parola, Philippe (2007). Rickettsial diseases. CRC Press. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-0-8493-7611-5. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Azad AF, Beard CB (1998). "Rickettsial pathogens and their arthropod vectors". Emerging Infect. Dis. 4 (2): 179–86. doi:10.3201/eid0402.980205. PMC 2640117. PMID 9621188. 
  5. ^ Williams M, Izzard L, Graves SR, Stenos J, Kelly JJ (January 2011). "First probable Australian cases of human infection with Rickettsia felis (cat-flea typhus)". Med. J. Aust. 194 (1): 41–3. PMID 21449868. 
  6. ^ Medew J (6 January 2011). "Deadly cat-flea disease hits Australia". The Age. 

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