Bartonella Infection: Treatment and Drug Resistance

Silpak Biswas; Jean-Marc Rolain


Future Microbiol. 2010;5(11):1719-1731. 

In This Article

Bartonellosis in Animals

Bartonella Infection in Cats

Cats are the main reservoir host for B. henselae infections but also serve as reservoir for Bartonella clarridgeiae, Bartonella koehlerae and B. quintana.[4,14–17]B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae have a worldwide distribution. The transmission of B. henselae among cats most likely occurs via cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis),[18,19] and cats usually remain healthy. Experimental infection of cats with B. henselae can lead to various clinical signs,[20–24] and fever can also develop in some naturally infected cats.[25] Conversely, cats experimentally infected with B. koehlerae or B. rochalimae exhibited no clinical signs of infection.[26,27]

Bartonella Infection in Dogs

Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. quintana, B. clarridgeiae, B. elizabethae and B. rochalimae have been shown to be pathogenic in dogs.[12,14,16,17]Bartonella infections in dogs exhibit varying clinical symptoms that include illness accompanied by lethargy and weight loss.[14] In 1993, Breitschwerdt et al. reported the isolation of B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii from a dog with endocarditis in the USA.[12,28]B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii is considered the most frequent Bartonella species responsible for disease in dogs.[14,20] Other diseases caused by Bartonella species in dogs include aortic and mitral valve endocarditis, granulomatous rhinitis, PH, cardiac arrhythmias, myocarditis, meningoradiculoneuritis, polyarthritis and granulomatous lymphadenitis.[13,20,29–39] Endocarditis appears to be the main clinical symptom of Bartonella infection in dogs.[12,20] Based on recent studies, it is becoming clear that B. henselae can also infect dogs.[14]

Bartonella Infection in other Animals

Various rats and mice are known to be host to intraerythrocytic Bartonella bacteremias.[4]Bartonella talpae was observed in the erythrocytes of moles and other rodents.[40]Bartonella species were also isolated from small mammals.[40,41] Different reports have detailed Bartonella infections in horses and in some domestic and wild ruminants.[20,42–45] In a recent study by Ye et al.,[46]Bartonella species were isolated from 188 of 1161 small animals, including five rodent species (Suncus murinus, Rattus norvegicus, Rattus flavipectus, Mus musculus and Rattus rattus), and Bartonella-infected rodents were found in every investigated area. Other Bartonella species, such as Bartonella chomelii and B. henselae, have been detected in healthy cattle.[47,48]Bartonella have also been isolated from elk, mule deer, ground squirrels and bighorn sheep.[42,49]