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      Bartonella Spp. in Pets and Effect on Human Health

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          Pets represent a large reservoir for human infection.


          Among the many mammals infected with Bartonella spp., pets represent a large reservoir for human infection because most Bartonella spp. infecting them are zoonotic. Cats are the main reservoir for Bartonella henselae, B. clarridgeiae, and B. koehlerae. Dogs can be infected with B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. henselae, B. clarridgeiae, B. washoensis, B. elizabethae, and B. quintana. The role of dogs as an important reservoir of Bartonella spp. is less clear than for cats because domestic dogs are more likely to be accidental hosts, at least in nontropical regions. Nevertheless, dogs are excellent sentinels for human infections because a similar disease spectrum develops in dogs. Transmission of B. henselae by cat fleas is better understood, although new potential vectors (ticks and biting flies) have been identified. We review current knowledge on the etiologic agents, clinical features, and epidemiologic characteristics of these emerging zoonoses.

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          Most cited references 45

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          Recommendations for treatment of human infections caused by Bartonella species.

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            Experimental transmission of Bartonella henselae by the cat flea.

            Bartonella henselae is an emerging bacterial pathogen, causing cat scratch disease and bacillary angiomatosis. Cats bacteremic with B. henselae constitute a large reservoir from which humans become infected. Prevention of human infection depends on elucidation of the natural history and means of feline infection. We studied 47 cattery cats in a private home for 12 months to determine the longitudinal prevalence of B. henselae bacteremia, the prevalence of B. henselae in the fleas infesting these cats, and whether B. henselae is transmitted experimentally to cats via fleas. Vector-mediated transmission of B.henselae isolates was evaluated by removing fleas from the naturally bacteremic, flea-infested cattery cats and transferring these fleas to specific-pathogen-free (SPF) kittens housed in a controlled, arthropod-free University Animal Facility. B. henselae bacteremia was detected in 89% of the 47 naturally infected cattery cats. A total of 132 fleas were removed from cats whose blood was simultaneously cultured during different seasons and were tested individually for the presence of B. henselae DNA by PCR. B. henselae DNA was detected in 34% of 132 fleas, with seasonal variation, but without an association between the presence or the level of bacteremia in the corresponding cat. Cat fleas removed from bacteremic cattery cats transmitted B. henselae to five SPF kittens in two separate experiments; however, control SPF kittens housed with highly bacteremic kittens in the absence of fleas did not become infected. These data demonstrate that the cat flea readily transmits B. henselae to cats. Control of feline infestation with this arthropod vector may provide an important strategy for the prevention of infection of both humans and cats.
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              Factors associated with the rapid emergence of zoonotic Bartonella infections.

              Within the last 15 years, several bacteria of the genus Bartonella were recognized as zoonotic agents in humans and isolated from various mammalian reservoirs. Based on either isolation of the bacterium or PCR testing, eight Bartonella species or subspecies have been recognized as zoonotic agents, including B. henselae, B. elizabethae, B. grahamii, B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis, B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. grahamii, B. washoensis and more recently B. koehlerae. The present manuscript reviews the factors associated with the emergence of these zoonotic pathogens, including better diagnostic tools and methods to identify these fastidious bacteria, host immunosuppression (caused by infectious agents, cancer, aging or induced by immunosuppressive drugs), the interaction of co-infection by several infectious agents that may enhanced the pathogenecity of these bacteria, increased outdoor activity leading to exposure to wildlife reservoirs or vectors, poverty and low income associated with infestation by various ectoparasites, such as body lice and finally the dispersal of Bartonellae around the world. Furthermore, a description of the main epidemiological and clinical features of zoonotic Bartonellae is given. Finally, the main means for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases are presented.

                Author and article information

                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                March 2006
                : 12
                : 3
                : 389-394
                [* ]University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, California, USA;
                []Microbiologie-Immunologie, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France;
                []Nihon University, Kanagawa, Japan;
                [§ ]North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Bruno B. Chomel, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA; fax: 530-752-2377; email: bbchomel@ 123456ucdavis.edu

                Infectious disease & Microbiology

                cat, research, zoonoses, bartonella, dog, endocarditis, cat-scratch disease


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