Rickettsia

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Rickettsia felis
Rickettsia prowazekii
Rickettsia rickettsii
Rickettsia typhi
Rickettsia conorii
Rickettsia africae
Rickettsia akari
Rickettsia japonica
Rickettsia sibirica
Rickettsia australis
etc.

Rickettsia is a genus of non-motile, Gram-negative, non-sporeforming, highly pleomorphic bacteria that can present as cocci (0.1 μm in diameter), rods (1–4 μm long) or thread-like (10 μm long). Obligate intracellular parasites, the Rickettsia survival depends on entry, growth, and replication within the cytoplasm of eukaryotic host cells (typically endothelial cells).[1] Because of this, Rickettsia cannot live in artificial nutrient environments and are grown either in tissue or embryo cultures (typically, chicken embryos are used). In the past they were positioned somewhere between viruses and true bacteria. The majority of Rickettsia bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics of the tetracycline group.

Rickettsia species are carried by many ticks, fleas, and lice, and cause diseases in humans such as typhus, rickettsialpox, Boutonneuse fever, African tick bite fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Australian Tick Typhus, Flinders Island Spotted Fever and Queensland tick typhus.[2] They have also been associated with a range of plant diseases. Like viruses, they only grow inside living cells. The name rickettsia is often used for any member of the Rickettsiales. They are thought to be the closest living relatives to bacteria that were the origin of the mitochondria organelle that exists inside most eukaryotic cells.

The method of growing Rickettsia in chicken embryos was invented by Ernest William Goodpasture and his colleagues at Vanderbilt University in the early 1930s.

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