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: 2.35). 03/2012; 139(3):324-9. DOI: 10.1017/S0031182011002113
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    ABSTRACT: Bartonellae are facultative intracellular bacteria and are highly adapted to their mammalian host cell niches. Straw-colored fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) are commonly infected with several bartonella strains. To elucidate the genetic diversity of these bartonella strains, we analyzed 79 bartonella isolates from straw-colored fruit bats in seven countries across Africa (Cameroon, Annobon island of Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda) using a multi-locus sequencing typing (MLST) approach based on nucleotide sequences of eight loci (ftsZ, gltA, nuoG, ribC, rpoB, ssrA, ITS, and 16S rRNA). The analysis of each locus but ribC demonstrated clustering of the isolates into six genogroups (E1 - E5 and Ew), while ribC was absent in the isolates belonging to the genogroup Ew. In general, grouping of all isolates by each locus was mutually supportive; however, nuoG, gltA, and rpoB showed some incongruity with other loci in several strains, suggesting a possibility of recombination events, which were confirmed by network analyses and recombination/mutation rate ratio (r/m) estimations. The MLST scheme revealed 45 unique sequence types (ST1 - 45) among the analyzed bartonella isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of concatenated sequences supported the discrimination of six phylogenetic lineages (E1 - E5 and Ew) corresponding to separate and unique Bartonella species. One of the defined lineages, Ew, consisted of only two STs (ST1 and ST2), and comprised more than one-quarter of the analyzed isolates, while other lineages contained higher numbers of STs with a smaller number of isolates belonging to each lineage. The low number of allelic polymorphisms of isolates belonging to Ew suggests a more recent origin for this species. Our findings suggest that at least six Bartonella species are associated with straw-colored fruit bats, and that distinct STs can be found across the distribution of this bat species, including in populations of bats which are genetically distinct.
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    ABSTRACT: Author Summary Bartonella spp. are bacteria that inhabit the red blood cells of both human and animal hosts. Among humans, Bartonella spp. are known to cause several febrile illnesses, including Carrion’s disease (Bartonella bacilliformis), trench fever (Bartonella quintana), and cat scratch fever (Bartonella henselae), all of which are transmitted via arthropod vectors—respectively sand flies, lice, and fleas. Bats are known to host multiple Bartonella spp., including some capable of infecting humans. Some bat species are also known to host obligate ectoparasites known as bat flies (Diptera: Hippoboscoidea), which also sometimes support Bartonella spp. infections. The role of bat flies and other bat ectoparasites as vectors for Bartonella spp. transmission has been suggested, but not fully explored. We demonstrate Bartonella spp. infection in one species of Madagascar fruit bat, which hosts bat flies, simultaneously with the absence of Bartonella in a fruit bat species of overlapping range that appears not to support these ectoparasites. In light of ongoing trends of zoonotic emergence of human diseases from bat reservoirs, further understanding of the transmission dynamics of bat-borne pathogens is paramount.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 02/2015; 10(2):e0003532. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003532 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several rodent-associated Bartonella species are human pathogens but little is known about their epidemiology. We trapped rodents and shrews around human habitations at two sites in Kenya (rural Asembo and urban Kibera) to determine the prevalence of Bartonella infection. Bartonella were detected by culture in five of seven host species. In Kibera, 60% of Rattus rattus were positive, as compared to 13% in Asembo. Bartonella were also detected in C. olivieri (7%), Lemniscomys striatus (50%), Mastomys natalensis (43%) and R. norvegicus (50%). Partial sequencing of the citrate synthase (gltA) gene of isolates showed that Kibera strains were similar to reference isolates from Rattus trapped in Asia, America, and Europe, but that most strains from Asembo were less similar. Host species and trapping location were associated with differences in infection status but there was no evidence of associations between host age or sex and infection status. Acute febrile illness occurs at high incidence in both Asembo and Kibera but the etiology of many of these illnesses is unknown. Bartonella similar to known human pathogens were detected in small mammals at both sites and investigation of the ecological determinants of host infection status and of the public health significance of Bartonella infections at these locations is warranted.


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May 21, 2014