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Veterinary bacteriology: information about important bacteria
Veterinary bacteriology

Species/Subspecies: Rickettsia prowazekii
Category: Primarily of interest in human medicin
Etymology: Genus name: named after Howard T. Ricketts, who showed which organism caused Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which resulted in his death
Species epithet: named after Stanislav von Prowazek, who worked with the etiology of typhus and also died after having contracted the disease.
Significance:  [Of minor importance]   
Type Strain: ATCC VR-142.
Macromorphology (smell): Cannot be cultivated on cell free substrates (for instance agar plates).
Micromorphology: Short (0.3-0.5 x 0.8-2.0 µm) rods
Gram +/Gram -:G-
Metabolism: Aerobic
Fermentation of carbohydrates: Is not used for identification of Rickettsia spp.
Spec. Char.: Is obligate intracellular because the plasma membrane is leaky and the bacteria require correct osmolarity and constant supply of nutrients
Vector: Human body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis), which can transmit the disease through its feces
Hosts: Man
Clinical Picture:
Genome Sequence:
Acc-noStrainSize (bp)Genome
NC_000963 Madrid E 1 111 523  

16S rRNA Seq.:
Acc-noStrainNumber of NTOperon
AJ235272 Madrid E 1507 

About 30 species have been described within the genus Rickettsia. This genus is relatively closely related to other genera within the orderRickettsialas (Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Neorickettsia).
Legislation: Rickettsia prowazekii belongs to category B as a potential bioterrorism agent according to NIAID
Comment:Obligat intracellular pathogen, which lives in the cytoplasm of the cell. An evolutionary interesting bacterium, because its ancestors invaded cells and formed the mitochondria by endosymbiosis. Can use ATP from the hostcell, but also synthesize ATP by oxidative phosphorylation.
Reference(s): No. 83


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