Rickettsia: The Disease Causing Bacteria (Part-2)

Rickettsias are mainly known for their disease-causing capability. These micro-organisms can cause a great variety of diseases in different flora and fauna; especially in human.

Rickettsiosis is a disease caused by intracellular bacteria. It’s a type of infectious disease. Rickettsiosis can be divided mainly in two groups:

  • Spotted fever group &
  • Typhus group

Read part one of this article here.

Image result for how rickettsia rickettsii attacks and spreads
Figure: Transmition of Rocky Mountain spotted fever by the bite of an infected tick

Types Of Rickettsial Diseases

  • Typhus Group
Rickettsial agent  Insect vectors Mammalian reservoirs
 1. Epidemic typhus Rickettsia prowazekii Louse Humans
 2. Murine typhus Rickettsia typhi Flea Rodents
 3. Scrub typhus Orientia tsutsugamushi Mite Rodents


  • Spotted Fever Group
Diseases Rickettsial agent  Insect vectors Mammalian reservoirs
 1. Indian tick typhus R. conorii Tick Rodents, dogs
 2. Rocky mountain spotted fever R. rickettsii Tick Rodents, dogs
 3. Rickettsial pox R. akari Mite Mice
  • Others
Diseases Rickettsial agent Insect vectors Mammalian reservoirs
 1. Q fever Coxiella brunetti Nil Cattle, sheep, goats
 2. Trench fever Rochalimaea quintana Louse Humans


Figure: Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Floral Pathogenesis

Plant diseases have been associated with these Rickettsia-like organisms (RLOs):

  • Beet latent rosette RLO
  • Cover leaf RLO
  • Grapevine infectious necrosis RLO
  • Grapevine Pierce’s RLO
  • Grapevine yellows RLO
  • Peach phony RLO
Figure: A leaf of peach tree affected by “Phony Peach Disease”


It’s better to be careful about our health, lifestyle etc. to prevent diseases than to get affected because of our negligence and then cure it. So, here are some tips that might be followed to prevent rickettsiosis to some extent:

  1. Proper clothing while travelling to tick-infested areas.
  2. Keeping ticks out.
  3. Applying repellents (such as Permetrin).
  4. Self checking as well as checking children & pets after returning from tick-infested area.


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About Khaleda Akter Shompa

Khaleda Akter Shompa
Currently studying in 2nd year at Department of Botany, University of Dhaka. Wants to learn multiple things for the development of skill. A good listener also.

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