Volume 20, Number 3—March 2014 Emerging Infectious Disease
Bartonella henselae and B. koehlerae DNA in Birds
To the Editor: Bartonellosis, a globally emerging vector-borne zoonotic bacterial disease, is caused by hemotropic, gram-negative, aerobic, facultative intracellular Bartonella spp. (1). Of the 30 Bartonella species/subspecies, 17 have been associated with human infections (2,3). Each species has a reservoir host(s), within which the bacteria can cause intraerythrocytic bacteremia with few or no clinical signs of illness (1,3); the bacteria are transmitted by hematophagous arthropod vectors (1). Various Bartonella spp. have been identified in domestic and wild animals, including canids, deer, cattle, rodents, and marine mammals (1,4). Bartonella DNA from the blood of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) has been PCR amplified and sequenced (5); the fact that Bartonella DNA was found suggests the possibility that persistent blood-borne infection can occur in nonmammals and that the host range for Bartonella spp. may be larger than anticipated.