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Identification of Diverse Bartonella Genotypes among Small Mammals from Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania

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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado; Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania; Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre, Brussels, Belgium; University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

Small mammals from the Democratic Republic (DR) of the Congo and Tanzania were tested to determine the prevalence and genetic diversity of Bartonella species. The presence of Bartonella DNA was assessed in spleen samples of the animals by rpoB- and gltA-polymerase chain reactions (PCRs). By rpoB-PCR, Bartonella was detected in 8 of 59 animals of DR Congo and in 16 of 39 Tanzanian animals. By gltA-PCR, Bartonella was detected in 5 and 15 animals of DR Congo and Tanzania, respectively. The gene sequences from Arvicanthis neumanni were closely related to Bartonella elizabethae. The genotypes from Lophuromys spp. and from Praomys delectorum were close to Bartonella tribocorum. Five genogroups were not genetically related to any known Bartonella species. These results suggest the need to conduct further studies to establish the zoonotic risks linked with those Bartonella species and, in particular, to verify whether these agents might be responsible for human cases of febrile illness of unknown etiology in Africa.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Michael Y. Kosoy, Bartonella Laboratory, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3150 Rampart Road, Foothills Research Campus, Fort Collins, CO 80521. E-mail: mck3@cdc.gov

Financial support: This research was supported in part by an appointment to the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Fellowship Program administered by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and funded by the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC). We wish to acknowledge the financial support from the Belgium funds for Scientific Research (FNRS and FRIA), the University of Antwerp (Belgium), the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania, and the logistical support from the Pest Management Centre that enabled the scientific expedition to the Rift Valley District of Mbulu in northern Tanzania.

Disclosure: Dr. Gundi was an EID Fellow during 2008–2009. He is working in Bartonella Laboratory, Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado. His research interests include tropical and emerging infectious diseases.

Authors' addresses: Vijay A. K. B. Gundi and Michael Y. Kosoy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Fort Collins, CO, E-mail: mck3@cdc.gov. Rhodes H. Makundi, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania. Anne Laudisoit, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre, Brussels; University of Antwerp, Antwerp; and University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

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