Introduction. Boutonneuse fever (BF) is an emerging infectious disease in Romania evolving in the southern part of the country, as revealed by the incidence rates registered in our previous epidemiological descriptive studies performed during last years. We aimed to evaluate the presence of Rickettsia conorii specific IgG antibodies in a population sample from the affected area. Methods. An ELISA serological survey was performed on 301 serum samples collected from the general population, living in an area most affected by BF, in southern Romania. One of the selection criteria was the absence of signs and symptoms of the disease during the seasonal development of BF. Data were processed in SPSS V.19 (indicators of central tendency, dispersion, frequency and benchmarking). Results. Serological results showed a general positivity rate of 25.2%, with the highest rate in the population group aged over 60 years, this age group accounting for 34.21 % of the whole sample (55.6% for Bucharest area and 63.16% for Tulcea district). Conclusions. By confirming the hypothesis based on our previous descriptive epidemiological studies that BF is fitting an endemic pattern in southern Romania, our study results strongly support the need to set up a national surveillance program, aiming at improving BF prevention, management and control in our country. To our knowledge, this is the first study on Rickettsia conorii specific IgG antibodies seroprevalence in Romania.
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