Researchers have identified a new species of Rickettsia bacteria that may cause significant disease in dogs and humans.

This new, yet-unnamed species, initially identified in three dogs, is part of the spotted-fever group Rickettsia which includes Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacteria that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).

Rickettsia pathogens fall into four groups; of those, spotted-fever group Rickettsia (which ticks transmit) is the most commonly known and contains the most identified species. There are more than 25 species of tick-borne, spotted-fever group Rickettsia species worldwide, with R. rickettsii being one of the most virulent and dangerous.

For dogs, R. rickettsii is the only known spotted fever group Rickettsia that causes clinical disease in North America. Symptoms of RMSF in dogs and people are similar, including fever, lethargy, weight loss,…

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