Serological survey of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens in pet cats and cats from animal shelters and feral colonies

Center for Vectorborne Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 95616, USA.
Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.16). 05/2006; 8(2):111-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfms.2005.10.004
Source: PubMed


Although cats and their arthropod parasites can sometimes be important sources of zoonotic diseases in humans, the extent of exposure among various cat populations to many potential zoonotic agents remains incompletely described. In this study, 170 domestic cats living in private homes, feral cat colonies, and animal shelters from California and Wisconsin were evaluated by serology to determine the levels of exposure to a group of zoonotic vector-borne pathogens. Serological positive test results were observed in 17.2% of cats for Rickettsia rickettsii, 14.9% for R akari, 4.9% for R typhi, 11.1% for R felis, and 14.7% for Bartonella henselae. Although vector-borne disease exposure has been documented previously in cats, the evaluation of multiple pathogens and diverse cat populations simultaneously performed here contributes to our understanding of feline exposure to these zoonotic pathogens.

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    • "It is important to highlight that many seropositive cats, even cats in which R. typhi has been directly detected, lived in close contact with humans. Like other studies [23,24], although stray cats or cats with outdoor activities may be more exposed to R. typhi infection, there were no significant differences among seropositivity and either habitat or outdoor activities. "
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    ABSTRACT: Rickettsiatyphi is the etiological agent of murine typhus (MT), a disease transmitted by two cycles: rat-flea-rat, and peridomestic cycle. Murine typhus is often misdiagnosed and underreported. A correct diagnosis is important because MT can cause severe illness and death. Our previous seroprevalence results pointed to presence of human R. typhi infection in our region; however, no clinical case has been reported. Although cats have been related to MT, no naturally infected cat has been described. The aim of the study is to confirm the existence of R. typhi in our location analyzing its presence in cats and fleas. 221 cats and 80 fleas were collected from Veterinary clinics, shelters, and the street (2001-2009). Variables surveyed were: date of collection, age, sex, municipality, living place, outdoor activities, demographic area, healthy status, contact with animals, and ectoparasite infestation. IgG against R. typhi were evaluated by indirect immunofluorescence assay. Molecular detection in cats and fleas was performed by real-time PCR. Cultures were performed in those cats with positive molecular detection. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS. A p < 0.05 was considered significant. Thirty-five (15.8%) cats were seropositive. There were no significant associations among seropositivity and any variables. R. typhi was detected in 5 blood and 2 cultures. High titres and molecular detection were observed in stray cats and pets, as well as in spring and winter. All fleas were Ctenocephalides felis. R. typhi was detected in 44 fleas (55%), from shelters and pets. Co-infection with R. felis was observed. Although no clinical case has been described in this area, the presence of R. typhi in cats and fleas is demonstrated. Moreover, a considerable percentage of those animals lived in households. To our knowledge, this is the first time R. typhi is detected in naturally infected cats.
    PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e71386. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0071386 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Small mammals host diverse communities of parasites including fleas. There is considerable research interest in the effects of parasitic infections (endoparasites) and infestations (ectoparasites) on their hosts (Tavassoli et al. 2010; Rahman et al. 2009; Case et al. 2006; Akucewich et al. 2002; Begon et al. 1996 and Freeland 1983) because of the medical and veterinary importance of parasites. For example, ectoparasites including fleas (Order Siphonaptera), are important vectors of pathogens. "
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    ABSTRACT: Small mammals host diverse communities of parasites including fleas. There is considerable research interest in effects of parasites on their hosts. Host specificity, prevalence and intensity of infestation of fleas on small mammals were studied at selected sites in the city of Windhoek, Namibia from April to July 2005. Small mammals were live-trapped using Sherman traps and autopsied before collection of fleas. Fleas were processed using standard parasitological proce-dures and were mounted permanently onto slides using Canada balsam. Small mammal hosts and fleas were identified to species level. A total of sixty one (61) small mammals belonging to four rodent species, i.e. bushveld gerbil Gerbilliscus leucogaster, hairy-footed gerbil Gerbillu-rus paeba, black-tailed tree rat Thallomys nigricauda and the four-stripped mouse Rhabdomys pumilio and one insectivore, bushveld sengi Elephantulus intufi, were captured. One hundred and thirty six (136) fleas belonging to eight species, i.e. Xenopsylla brasiliensis, Xenopsylla cheopis, Xenopsylla hirsuta, Xenopsylla trispinis, Dinopsyllus ellobius, Dinopsyllus zuluensis, Epirimia aganipes and Listropsylla aricinae were collected from infested hosts. Dinopsyllus ellobius and X. trispinis and L. aricinae were host specific, being collected only from G. leucogaster and G. paeba, respectively. No fleas were collected from E. intifi and R. pumilio. The prevalence of fleas ranged from zero in E. entufi and R. pumilio through 50 % in T. nigricauda, 55.1% in G. leucogaster to 61.1% in G. paeba. High species richness of fleas was recorded in G. leucogaster (seven out of eight flea species) and in G. paeba (six out of eight flea species). The overall prevalence of fleas was higher in male (54.3%) than in female (34.6%) hosts. There was no association between the body mass of small mammal hosts and the intensity of flea infestation. The intensity of infestation of fleas did not vary significantly by host species and sex of hosts. .
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    • "Bartonella henselae antibody detection by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) was performed at a 1:64 dilution as previously described (Case et al. 2006). Serum from cats infected experimentally with B. henselae strains Houston-1 and U4, and serum from uninfected laboratory cats, were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Sera collected from 442 mountain lions in 48 California counties between the years of 1987 and 2010 were tested using immunofluorescence assays and agglutination tests for the presence of antibodies reactive to Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Bartonella henselae, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum antigens. Data were analyzed for spatial and temporal trends in seropositivity. Seroprevalences for B. burgdorferi (19.9%) and B. henselae (37.1%) were relatively high, with the highest exposure in the Central Coast region for B. henselae. B. henselae DNA amplified in mountain lion samples was genetically similar to human-derived Houston-1 and domestic cat-derived U4 B. henselae strains at the gltA and ftsZ loci. The statewide seroprevalences of Y. pestis (1.4%), F. tularensis (1.4%), and A. phagocytophilum (5.9%), were comparatively low. Sera from Y. pestis- and F. tularensis-seropositive mountain lions were primarily collected in the Eastern and Western Sierra Nevada, and samples reactive to Y. pestis antigen were collected exclusively from adult females. Adult age (≥2 years) was a risk factor for B. burgdorferi exposure. Over 70% of tested animals were killed on depredation permits, and therefore were active near areas with livestock and human residential communities. Surveillance of mountain lions for these bacterial vector-borne and zoonotic agents may be informative to public health authorities, and the data are useful for detecting enzootic and peridomestic pathogen transmission patterns, particularly in combination with molecular characterization of the infecting organisms.
    Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) 08/2012; 12(11). DOI:10.1089/vbz.2011.0858 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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