Bartonellosis: an emerging infectious disease of zoonotic importance to animals and human beings

Authors

  • Edward B. Breitschwerdt DVM,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
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  • Ricardo G. Maggi PhD,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
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  • Bruno B. Chomel DVM, PhD,

    1. School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA (Chomel); and the Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
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  • Michael R. Lappin DVM, PhD

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
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  • Disclaimers: none.
    Sources of support: support for the research performed in the laboratories of the authors has been provided by numerous pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, foundations and the states in which the authors reside. No financial support was provided for the generation of this review.
    Statement disclosing financial conflicts of interest: in conjunction with Dr. Sushama Sontakke and North Carolina State University, Dr. Breitschwerdt holds US Patent No. 7,115,385; Media and Methods for cultivation of microorganisms, which was issued on October 3, 2006. He is the chief scientific officer for Galaxy Diagnostics, a newly formed company that provides advanced diagnostic testing for the detection of Bartonella species infection in animals and human beings. Dr. Maggi is the Head Research Scientist for Galaxy Diagnostics.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Department of Clinical Sciences, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA. Email: ed_breitschwerdt@ncsu.edu
Submitted August 12, 2009; Accepted October 31, 2009.

Abstract

Objective – To provide a review of clinically relevant observations related to Bartonella species as emerging pathogens in veterinary and human medicine.

Data Sources – Literature as cited in PubMed and as generated by each of the authors who have contributed to various aspects of the clinical understanding of bartonellosis.

Human Data Synthesis – Important historical and recent publications illustrating the evolving role of animal reservoirs as a source of human infection.

Veterinary Data Synthesis – Comprehensive review of the veterinary literature.

Conclusions – In addition to inducing life-threatening illnesses, such as endocarditis, myocarditis, and meningoencephalitis and contributing to chronic debilitating disease, such as arthritis, osteomyelitis, and granulomatous inflammation in cats, dogs, and potentially other animal species; pets and wildlife species can serve as persistently infected reservoir hosts for the transmission of Bartonella spp. infection to veterinary professionals and others with direct animal contact.

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