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Keywords:

  • Bartonella;
  • cat;
  • cat scratch disease;
  • endocarditis;
  • zoonoses

Summary

Cat scratch disease is the most common zoonotic infection caused by Bartonella bacteria. Among the many mammals infected with Bartonella spp., cats represent a large reservoir for human infection, as they are the main reservoir for Bartonella henselae, Bartonella clarridgeiae and Bartonella koehlerae. Bartonella spp. are vector-borne bacteria, and transmission of B. henselae by cat fleas occurs mainly through infected flea faeces, although new potential vectors (ticks and biting flies) have been identified. Dogs are also infected with various Bartonella species and share with humans many of the clinical signs induced by these infections. Although the role of dogs as source of human infection is not yet clearly established, they represent epidemiological sentinels for human exposure. Present knowledge on the aetiology, clinical features and epidemiological characteristics of bartonellosis is presented.