What is the global prevalence of bartonellosis (Bartonella infection)?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: Kassem A Hammoud, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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B bacilliformis transmission is limited to the Andes Mountains at elevations of 1000-3000 meters because of the habitat of the sand fly Phlebotomus, now called Lutzomyia. Outbreaks of B bacilliformis infection occur only in the Andes. Cases elsewhere in the world are found in travelers.

B henselae is found throughout the world in association with both domestic and feral cats. The cat flea Ctenocephalides felis is an arthropod vector. B henselae and other Bartonella species have been isolated from ticks, but their competence in disease transmission is unclear. [7, 8]

One study from Eastern China done on rabies clinic and blood donors (557 patients) found a seroprevalence of about 20%. Patients bitten by a dog had a higher seroprevalence compared with blood donors (27% vs 14%). [9]

B quintana infection has been reported in 16% of homeless hospitalized patients in France.

Other species, such as B clarridgeiae, may be a cause of asymptomatic infection in cats.

Review of studies from the United States, Japan, and France showed a seasonality in cat scratch disease. In the United States, most cases are diagnosed during the last 6 months of the year, in Japan most of the transmission occurs from September to December with a peak in November, and in France most cases were found between September and April with a peak in December. This is likely related to the weather, reproductive behavior of cats, their contact frequency with humans, and flea activity. [10]

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