Detection and identification of Bartonella sp. in fleas from carnivorous mammals in Andalusia, Spain

Authors


Dr Francisco J. Márquez, Departamento Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Universidad de Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n, 23071 Jaén, Spain. Tel.: +34 953 212797; fax: +34 953 211873; e-mail: jmarquez@ujaen.es

Abstract.

A total of 559 fleas representing four species (Pulex irritans, Ctenocephalides felis, Ctenocephalides canis and Spilopsyllus cuniculi) collected on carnivores (five Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus, six European wildcat Felis silvestris, 10 common genet Genetta genetta, three Eurasian badger Meles meles, 22 red fox Vulpes vulpes, 87 dogs and 23 cats) in Andalusia, southern Spain, were distributed in 156 pools of monospecific flea from each carnivore, and tested for Bartonella infection in an assay based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the 16 S–23 S rRNA intergenic spacer region. Twenty-one samples (13.5%) were positive and the sequence data showed the presence of four different Bartonella species. Bartonella henselae was detected in nine pools of Ctenocephalides felis from cats and dogs and in three pools of Ctenocephalides canis from cats; Bartonella clarridgeiae in Ctenocephalides felis from a cat, and Bartonella alsatica in Spilopsyllus cuniculi from a wildcat. DNA of Bartonella sp., closely related to Bartonella rochalimae, was found in seven pools of Pulex irritans from foxes. This is the first detection of B. alsatica and Bartonella sp. in the Iberian Peninsula. All of these Bartonella species have been implicated as agents of human diseases. The present survey confirms that carnivores are major reservoirs for Bartonella spp.

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