African tick-bite fever is an emerging infectious disease caused by the spotted fever group Rickettsia, Rickettsia africae, and is transmitted by ticks of the genus Amblyomma. To determine the seroprevalence of exposure to R. africae and risk factors associated with infection, we conducted a cross-sectional study of persons in seven rural villages in distinct ecological habitats of Cameroon. We examined 903 plasma samples by using an indirect immunofluorescence assay for antibodies to R. africae and analyzed demographic and occupational data collected from questionnaires. Of the 903 persons tested, 243 (26.9%) had IgG/IgM/IgA reactive with R. africae. Persons from four of the seven village sites were significantly more likely to be seropositive (P < 0.05), and lowland forest sites tended to have higher seroprevalences. These results suggest that African tick-bite fever is common in adults in rural areas of Cameroon and that ecological factors may play a role in the acquisition of R. africae infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases