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Bartonella Species in Small Mammals and Their Ectoparasites in Taiwan

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  • Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California; Department of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan; Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan

Bartonella spp. prevalence in small mammals and their ectoparasites was investigated in Taiwan. Blood samples were obtained from 66 rats, 20 shrews, 276 mites (Laelaps spp.), 74 fleas (Xenopsylla cheopis), 81 lice (Polyplax spp.), and 47 ticks (41 Dermacentor spp. and 6 Ixodes spp.). Bartonellae were isolated or detected in 27 (31.4%) animals. Bartonella DNA was detected in 48 (64.9%) fleas and 11 (64.7%) pooled lice samples, but not in mite and tick samples. Bartonella phoceensis, B. queenslandensis, B. tribocorum, B. elizabethae, and B. rattimassiliensis were isolated or detected in bacteremic mammals. For the first time in Taiwan, B. tribocorum, B. elizabethae, B. queenslandensis, and a B. rochalimae-like strain were detected in fleas, and B. tribocorum, B. phoceensis, and B. rattimassiliensis were detected in lice obtained from small mammals. A broader range of Bartonella species was identified in the ectoparasites than in the small mammals.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Bruno B. Chomel, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616. E-mail: bbchomel@ucdavis.edu

Financial support: This study was supported by grant 95AS-13.2.1-BQ-B1 from Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, Taiwan and grant NSC95-2313-B-005-028-MY2 from the National Science Council, Executive Yuan, Taiwan.

Authors' addresses: Yi-Lun Tsai, Philip H. Kass, and Bruno B. Chomel, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, E-mails: yltsai@ucdavis.edu, phkass@ucdavis.edu, and bbchomel@ucdavis.edu. Shih-Te Chuang, Department of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan, E-mail: stchuang@dragon.nchu.edu.tw. Chao-Chin Chang, Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan, E-mail: changcc@dragon.nchu.edu.tw.

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