Survey of Bartonella species infecting intradomicillary animals in the Huayllacallán Valley, Ancash, Peru, a region endemic for human bartonellosis.

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  • 1 Unité de Rickettsies, CNRS EPJ0054, Faculté de Medécine, Marseille, France.

The natural cycle of Bartonella bacilliformis remains uncertain, and the suspected existence of animal reservoirs for the bacterium has never been convincingly demonstrated. We conducted a survey of Bartonella species infecting intradomicillary animals in a bartonellosis-endemic region of Peru, obtaining blood from 50 animals living in the homes of 11 families whose children had recently had bartonellosis. Bartonella-like bacteria were recovered from four of nine small rodents included in the study, but from none of the 41 domesticated animals. Identification and comparison of these isolates, and two Bartonella-like isolates obtained from Phyllotis mice in a different endemic region of Peru using serologic and genotypic methods indicated that although none were strains of B. bacilliformis, five were probably representatives of three previously unrecognized Bartonella species and one was a likely strain of the pathogenic species B. elizabethae.

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