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      Bartonellae in domestic and stray cats from Israel: comparison of bacterial cultures and high-resolution melt real-time PCR as diagnostic methods.

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          To determine the occurrence of feline bartonellosis in Israel, blood samples were collected from 179 stray and 155 domestic cats from 18 cities or villages in central and northcentral Israel. Samples were screened for Bartonella infection by culture isolation and molecular detection using high-resolution melt (HRM) real-time PCR assay targeting the 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS). All positive samples were confirmed by two additional HRM real-time PCR assays targeting two fragments of the β-subunit of RNA polymerase (rpoB) and the 16S rRNA genes. The prevalence of Bartonella spp. infection in the general tested population was 25.1% (84/334). A higher prevalence was detected in the stray (30.7%; 55/179) than the domestic cats (18.7%; 29/155). Bartonella henselae, Bartonella clarridgeiae, and Bartonella koehlerae were highly prevalent in both cat populations, however their distribution among the two populations varied significantly (p=0.016). B. clarridgeiae and B. koehlerae were found to be more prevalent in stray than domestic cats, whereas B. henselae was evenly distributed. Co-infection with two or more different Bartonella spp. was determined in 2.1% (7) of the cats. The ITS HRM real-time PCR assay used in this study was shown to have a greater screening power than bacterial isolation, detecting 94.0% (79/84) compared to 35.7% (30/84), respectively, of all positive samples. The high prevalence of these zoonotic Bartonella species, coupled with the overpopulation of stray cats, and increased numbers of domestic cats in the major urban centers in Israel represent a significant threat for the public health in this country.

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          Author and article information

          Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis.
          Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.)
          Dec 2013
          : 13
          : 12
          [1 ] 1 Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem , Rehovot, Israel .


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