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Bartonella infection in domestic cats and wild felids

Chomel B.B., Kasten R.W., Henn J.B., Molia S.. 2006. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1078 : p. 410-415. International Conference on Rickettsiae and Rickettsial Diseases. 4, 2005-06-18/2005-06-21, Logrono (Espagne).

DOI: 10.1196/annals.1374.080

Bartonella are vector-borne, fastidious Gram-negative bacteria causing persistent bacteremia in their reservoir hosts. Felids represent a major reservoir for several Bartonella species. Domestic cats are the main reservoir of B. henselae, the agent of cat-scratch disease. Prevalence of infection is highest in warm and humid climates that are optimal for the survival of cat fleas, as fleas are essential for the transmission of the infection. Flea feces are the likely infectious substrate. Prevalence of B. henselae genotypes among cat populations varies worldwide. Genotype Houston I is more prevalent in the Far East and genotype Marseille is dominant in western Europe, Australia, and the western United States. Cats are usually asymptomatic, but uveitis, endocarditis, neurological signs, fever, necrotic lesions at the inoculation site, lymphadenopathy, and reproductive disorders have been reported in naturally or experimentally infected cats. Domestic cats are also the reservoir of B. clarridgeiae and co-infection has been demonstrated. B. koehlerae has been isolated from domestic cats, and was identified in cat fleas and associated with a human endocarditis case. B. bovis was isolated from a few cats in the United States and B. quintana DNA was recently identified in a cat tooth. Bartonella spp. have also been isolated from free-ranging and captive wild feuds from North America and Africa. Whereas, B. henselae was identified in African lions and a cheetah, some strains specific to these wild cats have also been identified, leading to the concept of a B. henselae group including various subspecies, as previously described for B. vinsonii.
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