Ehrlichia spp. are emerging infectious pathogens, especially in the Americas. Although Ehrlichia canis is primarily a parasite of dogs, polymerase chain reaction-confirmed human infections have been reported from Mexico, Venezuela, and Costa Rica. This study reports the presence of E. canis DNA in 13.7% of 205 dogs from urban areas in Peru and of those, five were analyzed for phylogenetic variation using the Tandem Repeat Protein 36 (TRP36) gene. The use of the TRP36 gene for such analysis was validated against 16S rRNA and heat shock protein genes using Shannon's entropy bioinformatic approach. When compared with other E. canis strains previously reported, three unique and novel E. canis strains were detected. In addition, the TRP36 amino acid tandem repeat sequences of the Peruvian strains share close similarity to an E. canis strain detected from four human blood bank samples in Costa Rica. This study reports for the first time domestic dogs infected with E. canis strains closely related to a zoonotic strain, which may be of public health concern as dogs can be chronically infected with this pathogen.
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Copyright © 2018 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.