Query: NC_006142:33268 Rickettsia typhi str. Wilmington, complete genome Lineage: Rickettsia typhi; Rickettsia; Rickettsiaceae; Rickettsiales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: This genus, like other Rickettsial organisms such as Neorickettsia and Anaplasma, is composed of obligate intracellular pathogens. The latter is composed of two organisms, Rickettsia prowazekii and Rickettsia typhi. The bacteria are transmitted via an insect, usually a tick, to a host organism, in this case humans, where they target endothelial cells and sometimes macrophages. They attach via an adhesin, rickettsial outer membrane protein A, and are internalized where they persist as cytoplasmically free organisms. Transovarial transmission (from mother to offspring) occurs in the invertebrate host. Rickettsia typhi causes murine typhus and is an obligate intracellular pathogen that infects both the flea vector and hosts such as human, rat, and mouse. In the flea vector, the bacterium penetrates the gut epithelial barrier and is found in the feces which become infective.
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General Information: This isolate was collected from a gerbil in central Asia. This organism was first identified by Edward Francis as the causative agent of a plague-like illness that affected squirrels in Tulare county in California in the early part of the 20th century. The organism now bears his name. The disease, which has been noted throughout recorded history, can be transmitted to humans by infected ticks or deerflies, infected meat, or by aerosol, and thus is a potential bioterrorism agent. This organism has a high infectivity rate, and can invade phagocytic and nonphagocytic cells, multiplying rapidly. Once within a macrophage, the organism can escape the phagosome and live in the cytosol. It is an aquatic organism, and can be found living inside protozoans, similar to what is observed with Legionella.