Published Jan 1, 2012


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Juan Carlos Quintero Vélez

Marylin Hidalgo

Juan David Rodas González



Rickettsiosis was first described in Colombia in 1937 by Dr Luis Patiño during an outbreak of a disease with unspecific signs. Rickettsia is a genus of Gram-negative intracellular obligatory bacteria having caused several epidemics around the world, and are transmitted mainly by ticks, fleas, lice and mites. The most fatal within this group of diseases is known as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), which is caused by Rickettsia rickettsia. There is also the endemic typhus caused by Rickettsia typhi and epidemic typhus caused by Rickettsia prowazekii. In Colombia, several outbreaks of RMSF have occurred during the last decade. The best known among those have hit the municipalities of Necoclí and Turbo, in Antioquia in 2006 and 2008 respectively, and Los Cordobas in the department of Cordoba in 2007. The goal of this review is to describe the state of the art of rickettsiosis, a forgotten lethal disease that has re-emerged in our country, and leave some questions as an inspiration for future research that will hopefully lead scientists to a better understanding of this entity potentially endemic in some areas of Colombia.

Key words: outbreak, emerging, reservoir, rickettsiosis, vector, typhus, zoonoses.

How to Cite
Quintero Vélez, J. C., Hidalgo, M., & Rodas González, J. D. (2012). Rickettsiosis: a deadly emerging and re-emerging disease in Colombia. Universitas Scientiarum, 17(1), 82–99.
Clinical Microbiology