Query: NC_010263:167450 Rickettsia rickettsii str. Iowa, complete genome Lineage: Rickettsia rickettsii; Rickettsia; Rickettsiaceae; Rickettsiales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: Causative agent for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This organism was first identified by Dr. Howard Rickets as the causative agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which was originally named for its geographic distribution at the time, it is now known to be widespread throughout the North American continent. This bacterium is an obligate intracellular pathogen that infects primarily the vascular endothelium, and occasionally smooth muscle tissue. It is passed to the human host from a tick bite, and the tick acts as both a natural reservoir and a vector for disease transmission. Once the organism is endocytosed by the host cell, it quickly escapes the phagozome, and replicates intracellularly, causing cell death and tissue damage. The disease is characterized by a spotted rash and has a high mortality rate if left untreated.
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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.