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 strain was isolated from a case of relapsing fever in western Washington, USA. Borrelia hermsii is the causative agent of tick-borne relapsing fever in the western United States and Canada. Borrelia then multiplies rapidly, causing a generalized infection throughout the tick. While feeding, the tick passes the organism into a mammalian host through its infectious saliva. Relapsing fever is characterized by a period of chills, fever, headache, and malaise, an asymptomatic period, followed by another episode of symptoms. This cycle of relapsing is due to changes in the surface proteins of Borrelia, which allow it to avoid detection and removal by the host immune system. This antigenic variation is the result of homologous recombination of silent proteins into an expressed locus, causing partial or complete replacement of one serotype with another. These plasmids carry genes involved in antigenic variation and pathogenicity.