To study the etiology and seroepidemiology of cat-scratch disease (CSD) in Hawaii.
Blood and fine-needle aspirate (FNA) from the lymph nodes of 39 consecutive patients with clinical CSD were cultured for Bartonella henselae, and blood samples from index cats, stray cats, and dogs were cultured and their sera were tested by indirect fluorescence antibody test for antibodies to B. henselae and Afipia felis. Sera from age- and sex-matched human subjects without cat exposure served as controls.
Warthin-Starry staining showed positive results in only 4 of 32 FNAs, and B. henselae was isolated from only one FNA specimen. All of 38 patients who had two or more sera tested had elevated titers of antibody to B. henselae. Only 1 of 48 human control sera had antibody to B. henselae. Of 31 kittens, 21 had positive blood culture results and elevated antibody titers to B. henselae. Of three adult cats, all had negative blood culture results, but they had serologic evidence of past infection. Of 23 adult stray cats, 18 had elevated titers of antibody to B. henselae, but in only one was the blood culture result positive. Results of IFA tests were marginally positive for A. felis in 1 of 29 patients with CSD and in one adult stray cat and one dog.
This study shows that the B. henselae IFA test is both highly sensitive and specific for the detection of infection caused by B. henselae and for the laboratory diagnosis of CSD, and that FNA is seldom helpful in confirming the diagnosis. We further demonstrated that CSD in Hawaii is due to B. henselae and that infection is directly linked to the scratch or bite of a kitten. Older cats seldom have bacteremia but often have serologic evidence of past infection. Our study fails to implicate dogs in the epidemiology of CSD in Hawaii, and A. felis was not etiologically implicated in CSD in the human subjects and animals we studied.
"A role for cat saliva and for cat bites in the transmission of B. henselae or B. quintana has been suggested but never been fully investigated [22, 52, 70]. Finally, no work has been conducted to determine the sequential dispersion of B. henselae within cat fleas except to document the presence of B. henselae in the lumen of the flea gut. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bartonella spp. are facultative intracellular bacteria that cause characteristic hostrestricted hemotropic infections in mammals and are typically transmitted by blood-sucking arthropods. In the mammalian reservoir, these bacteria initially infect a yet unrecognized primary niche, which seeds organisms into the blood stream leading to the establishment of a long-lasting intra-erythrocytic bacteremia as the hall-mark of infection. Bacterial type IV secretion systems, which are supra-molecular transporters ancestrally related to bacterial conjugation systems, represent crucial pathogenicity factors that have contributed to a radial expansion of the Bartonella lineage in nature by facilitating adaptation to unique mammalian hosts. On the molecular level, the type IV secretion system VirB/VirD4 is known to translocate a cocktail of different effector proteins into host cells, which subvert multiple cellular functions to the benefit of the infecting pathogen. Furthermore, bacterial adhesins mediate a critical, early step in the pathogenesis of the bartonellae by binding to extracellular matrix components of host cells, which leads to firm bacterial adhesion to the cell surface as a prerequisite for the efficient translocation of type IV secretion effector proteins. The best-studied adhesins in bartonellae are the orthologous trimeric autotransporter adhesins, BadA in Bartonella henselae and the Vomp family in Bartonella quintana. Genetic diversity and strain variability also appear to enhance the ability of bartonellae to invade not only specific reservoir hosts, but also accidental hosts, as shown for B. henselae. Bartonellae have been identified in many different blood-sucking arthropods, in which they are typically found to cause extracellular infections of the mid-gut epithelium. Adaptation to specific vectors and reservoirs seems to be a common strategy of bartonellae for transmission and host diversity. However, knowledge regarding arthropod specificity/restriction, the mode of transmission, and the bacterial factors involved in arthropod infection and transmission is still limited.
Veterinary Research 04/2009; 40(2):29. DOI:10.1051/vetres/2009011 · 2.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Taiwan, the first human case of cat-scratch disease (CSD) was diagnosed by a serologic test in 1998. Since then, no studies have been conducted to understand the epidemiology of the infection in Taiwan. Therefore, this study is the first epidemiologic survey of CSD in cats and humans in this country. Using veterinary-associated individuals as the study population, it was identified that 1.7% of them were seropositive for B. henselae, and residence was the only factor associated with seropositivity. Bartonella species were successfully isolated from 25 (19.1%) of the 131 cats tested. Only B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae were obtained from bacteremic cats. Furthermore, 9.2% of 131 cats were dually-infected with genotypes I and II of B. henselae. It is the highest prevalence of co-infection that has ever been reported worldwide. In cats, the seroprevalence was 23.7% by indirect immunofluorescence antibody assay with B. henselae Houston-1 (type I) as the antigen. When 12 bacteremic but seronegative cats were re-tested by IFA slides coated with B. henselae U-4 antigen (type II), 9 cats were identified to be seropositive. Our study further suggested that using only direct PCR of 16S-23S rRNA intergenic region or the combination of the PCR method and indirect immuno-fluorescence test will be useful to diagnose Bartonella-free cats.
Veterinary Research 07/2006; 37(4):565-77. DOI:10.1051/vetres:2006019 · 2.82 Impact Factor
"The B. henselae seroprevalence rate in controls of 21% and 14% in the current study and the Florida study  respectively are higher than in a summary of North American studies where the rate ranged from 2%  to 6% . However, the seroprevalence was 37% in adult blood donors and 18% in children with respiratory illnesses in a study done in British Columbia, Canada . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An association between Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) and seropositivity for Bartonella henselae (BH) has been described. The objective of this study was to see if such an association exists in northern Alberta.
Immunofluorescent antibody testing utilizing an antigen prepared from B. henselae was undertaken on sera from six children with current HSP, 22 children with remote HSP, and 28 controls that were matched for age. Blood from the six children with current HSP was analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay with primers derived from the citrate synthase (gltA) gene for the detection of Bartonella DNA.
The seropositivity rate for BH was 61% in cases versus 21% in controls (p < 0.03). The PCR assay was negative in all six current cases.
There is an increased seropositivity rate for BH in children with HSP. However, it is not clear if infection with B. henselae or a related Bartonella species can result in HSP, or if the increased seropositivity is from non-specific or cross-reacting antibodies.
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