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November 21, 1931

TROPICAL RAT MITES, LIPONYSSUS BACOTI HIRST, VECTORS OF ENDEMIC TYPHUS

Author Affiliations

CHARLESTON, S. C.; DALLAS, TEXAS

From the Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals, U. S. Bureau of Entomology, and of the Department of Dermatology, Baylor University College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1931;97(21):1506-1511. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02730210004002
Abstract

This report shows that in three instances a subclinical type of endemic typhus was transmitted from a guinea-pig to rats through bites of tropical rat mites, Liponyssus bacoti Hirst. It shows that in five instances the disease was transmitted from guinea-pig to guineapig by such mites. The evidence is based on temperatures of the animals after infected mites had fed on them and on studies of these infections in other guineapigs.

Studies on a human dermatitis caused by bites of tropical rat mites suggested a coincidental occurrence of cases of endemic typhus and tropical rat mites.1 In the vicinities of Longview and Henderson, Texas, it seemed likely that these parasites were concerned in the transmission of this disease. Records were obtained of thirty-seven persons having symptoms of the disease, and in each instance their blood gave a positive Weil-Felix reaction. Twenty-three of these persons worked in establishements where foods

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