Survey for zoonotic rickettsial pathogens in northern flying squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, in California

Janet E. Foley, Nathan C. Nieto, S. Bernadette Clueit, Patrick Foley, William N. Nicholson, Richard N. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Epidemic typhus, caused by Rickettsia prowazekii, is maintained in a southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) sylvatic cycle in the southeastern United States. The northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) has not been previously associated with R. prowazekii transmission. A second rickettsial pathogen, Anaplasma phagocytophilurn, infects dusky-footed woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes) and tree squirrels in northern California. Because northern flying squirrels or their ectoparasites have not been tested for these rickettsial pathogens, serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to test 24 northern flying squirrels for R. prowazekii and A. phagocytophilum infection or antibodies. Although there was no evidence of exposure to R. prowazekii, we provide molecular evidence of A. phagocytophilum infection in one flying squirrel; two flying squirrels also were seropositive for this pathogen. Fleas and ticks removed from the squirrels included Ceratophyllus ciliatus mononis, Opisodasys vesperalis, Ixodes hearlei, Ixodes pacificus, and Dermacentor paramapertus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-699
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of wildlife diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum
  • Epidemic typhus
  • Granulocytic anaplasmosis
  • Rickettsia prowazekii
  • Rodents
  • Sylvatic typhus
  • Vectorborne disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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