Bartonella species in bat flies (Diptera: Nycteribiidae) from western Africa

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector Borne Diseases, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.56). 03/2012; 139(3):324-9. DOI: 10.1017/S0031182011002113
Source: PubMed


Bat flies are obligate ectoparasites of bats and it has been hypothesized that they may be involved in the transmission of Bartonella species between bats. A survey was conducted to identify whether Cyclopodia greefi greefi (Diptera: Nycteribiidae) collected from Ghana and 2 islands in the Gulf of Guinea harbour Bartonella. In total, 137 adult flies removed from Eidolon helvum, the straw-coloured fruit bat, were screened for the presence of Bartonella by culture and PCR analysis. Bartonella DNA was detected in 91 (66·4%) of the specimens examined and 1 strain of a Bartonella sp., initially identified in E. helvum blood from Kenya, was obtained from a bat fly collected in Ghana. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to report the identification and isolation of Bartonella in bat flies from western Africa.

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Available from: David T S Hayman, Apr 24, 2014
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    • "Bartonellae are primarily transmitted by arthropod vectors, including fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera ), ticks (Arachnida: Parasitiformes), mites (Arachnida: Mesostigmata), and flies (Insecta: Diptera) (Bai and Kosoy 2012). Ectoparasitic bat flies in the families Nycteribiidae and Streblidae are likely important vectors of, and possibly reservoirs for, bartonellae within the order Chiroptera (Billeter et al. 2012; Morse et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract We captured and sampled 68 bats of six species from a shared roosting site in Puerto Rico in April 2012. Bats were screened for Bartonella spp. by culture and confirmed by PCR and sequencing for the gltA gene. Bartonella cultures were obtained from blood specimens of 9/51 (18%) individuals from three species (Artibeus jamaicensis, Brachyphylla cavernarum, and Monophyllus redmani). Phylogenetic analysis of the gltA sequences showed that M. redmani was infected with multiple, diverse Bartonella strains, and A. jamaicensis was infected with a strain related to a strain from a congeneric host. Ectoparasite load could possibly explain observed differences in Bartonella diversity and prevalence between bat species in this community, and we suggest future research to substantiate these preliminary findings.
    Journal of wildlife diseases 11/2014; 51(1). DOI:10.7589/2014-04-113 · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    • "Blood-feeding arthropods are important vectors of bacterial pathogens common in humans and animals, picking up the bacteria while feeding on infected hosts (Wales et al., 2010; Fleer et al., 2011). Soft ticks (family Argasidae ) and other ectoparasites commonly found on bats or in bat habitats have been found to be infected with Bartonella , Borrelia and Rickettsia species (Loftis et al., 2005; Reeves et al., 2005, 2007; Gill et al., 2008; Schwan et al., 2009; Blott, 2010; Billeter et al., 2012; Hornok et al., 2012), posing a potential risk of intra-and interspecies transmission cycles between bats, humans and domestic animals (D'Auria et al., 2010). Host-switching and variations in host-specificity of ectoparasites are significant factors in arthropod-borne diseases that increase the spread of pathogenic microorganisms (Kampen, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The occurrence of emerging infectious diseases and their relevance to human health has increased the interest in bats as potential reservoir hosts and vectors of zoonotic pathogens. But while previous and ongoing research activities predominantly focused on viral agents, the prevalence of pathogenic bacteria in bats and their impact on bat mortality have largely neglected. Enteric pathogens found in bats are often considered to originate from the bats' diet and foraging habitats, despite the fact that little is known about the actual ecological context or even transmission cycles involving bats, humans and other animals like pets and livestock. For some bacterial pathogens common in human and animal diseases (e.g. Pasteurella, Salmonella, Escherichia and Yersinia spp.), the pathogenic potential has been confirmed for bats. Other bacterial pathogens (e.g. Bartonella, Borrelia and Leptospira spp.) provide evidence for novel species that seem to be specific for bat hosts but might also be of disease importance in humans and other animals. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of bacterial pathogens identified in bats and to consider factors that might influence the exposure and susceptibility of bats to bacterial infection but could also affect bacterial transmission rates between bats, humans and other animals.
    Zoonoses and Public Health 08/2012; 60(1). DOI:10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01536.x · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    • "Because bat flies are viviparous and deposit a non-feeding pupa, vertical transmission of bartonellae likely happens in the female fly, either transovarially, or through milk gland secretions fed to the intra-uterine larva (Trowbridge et al., 2005; Hosokawa et al., 2011). Both properties – co-phylogeny, and vertical transmission – may also point to a mutualistic function of bartonellae in the fly, but because usually not all bat flies per population harbor Bartonella (Billeter et al., 2012), this may constitute a facultative association. The latter idea is further supported by research showing Arsenophonus as a candidate for obligate (i.e., primary) microbial associations in most bat flies (Trowbridge et al., 2005; Hosokawa et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, a growing number Bartonella spp. have been identified as causative agents for a broadening spectrum of zoonotic diseases, emphasizing their medical importance. Many mammalian reservoirs and vectors however are still unknown, hindering our understanding of pathogen ecology and obscuring epidemiological connections. New Bartonella genotypes were detected in a global sampling of 19 species of blood-feeding bat flies (Diptera, Hippoboscoidea, Nycteribiidae, Streblidae) from 20 host bat species, suggesting an important role of bat flies in harboring bartonellae. Evolutionary relationships were explored in the context of currently known Bartonella species and genotypes. Phylogenetic and gene network analyses point to an early evolutionary association and subsequent radiation of bartonellae with bat flies and their hosts. The recovery of unique clades, uniting Bartonella genotypes from bat flies and bats, supports previous ideas of these flies potentially being vectors for Bartonella. Presence of bartonellae in some female bat flies and their pupae suggests vertical transmission across developmental stages. The specific function of bartonellae in bats and bat flies remains a subject of debate, but in addition to pathogenic interactions, parasitic, mutualistic, or reservoir functions need to be considered.
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