We propose the name sp. nov. (with type strain Z9-Hu) for a distinct species of spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae that is the etiological agent of African tick bite fever in humans. This rickettsia has a distinct natural cycle and can be phenotypically distinguished from the other SFG rickettsiae by microimmunofluorescence serotyping, by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and by Western blotting (immunoblotting). Genotypic differences between and the other SFG rickettsiae can be demonstrated by PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene.


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