Within the last 15 years, several bacteria of the genus Bartonella were recognized as zoonotic agents in humans and isolated from various mammalian reservoirs. Based on either isolation of the bacterium or PCR testing, eight Bartonella species or subspecies have been recognized as zoonotic agents, including B. henselae, B. elizabethae, B. grahamii, B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis, B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. grahamii, B. washoensis and more recently B. koehlerae. The present manuscript reviews the factors associated with the emergence of these zoonotic pathogens, including better diagnostic tools and methods to identify these fastidious bacteria, host immunosuppression (caused by infectious agents, cancer, aging or induced by immunosuppressive drugs), the interaction of co-infection by several infectious agents that may enhanced the pathogenecity of these bacteria, increased outdoor activity leading to exposure to wildlife reservoirs or vectors, poverty and low income associated with infestation by various ectoparasites, such as body lice and finally the dispersal of Bartonellae around the world. Furthermore, a description of the main epidemiological and clinical features of zoonotic Bartonellae is given. Finally, the main means for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases are presented.
Vet Res. 2005 May-Jun;36(3):383-410