Design and analytical validation of a duplex PCR for Ehrlichia and Rickettsia detection in ticks


  • Juan C. Pérez Pérez University of Antioquia
  • Carolina Montoya Ruiz University of Antioquia
  • Esteban Arroyave Sierra University of Antioquia
  • Luis E. Paternina University of Sucre
  • Juan D. Rodas University of Antioquia



exclusiveness, groEL, inclusiveness, robustness, rRNA 23S


Background: Ehrlichia and Rickettsia are two major rickettsial genera transmitted by ticks that affect a number of wild and domestic animal species and human populations around the world. Objective: To design and validate a duplex PCR for Ehrlichia and Rickettsia in ticks. Methods: Assay validation included testing for sensitivity, specificity, reproducibility, and robustness of the PCR. The groEL and 23sr RNA genes were used for Ehrlichia and Rickettsia, respectively. Results: The limit of detection was one hundred gene copies per 50 μL of reaction for Ehrlichia spp, and one gene copy of Rickettsia per 50 μL of reaction. In general, the primers of the test only amplified in silico those bacterial agents for which they were originally designed, with the exception of the primers for Rickettsia that also amplified Methylocystis sp. The test was reproducible (intermediate precision) 96.7% of the times for both agents. The test was robust enough to tolerate concentration changes of all reagents with the exception of Taq DNA polymerase. Conclusions: The validation results indicated that this PCR is useful for detection in both bacterial genera and it is a good candidate for diagnostic validation.

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Author Biographies

Juan C. Pérez Pérez, University of Antioquia

M&b., Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses Line, Research Group in Veterinary Sciences (Centauro), University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

Carolina Montoya Ruiz, University of Antioquia

Blgcal. Eng., Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses Line, Research Group in Veterinary Sciences (Centauro), University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

Esteban Arroyave Sierra, University of Antioquia

Agc. Eng., MSc., Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses Line, Research Group in Veterinary Sciences (Centauro), University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

Luis E. Paternina, University of Sucre

Blst., MSc., PhD., Biomedical Research Group, University of Sucre, Sincelejo, Colombia.

Juan D. Rodas, University of Antioquia

VM, MSc, PhD., Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses Line, Research Group in Veterinary Sciences (Centauro), University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.


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How to Cite

Pérez Pérez, J. C., Montoya Ruiz, C., Arroyave Sierra, E., Paternina, L. E., & Rodas, J. D. (2018). Design and analytical validation of a duplex PCR for Ehrlichia and Rickettsia detection in ticks. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 31(4), 285–294.



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