Bartonella in Rodents and Ectoparasites in the Canary Islands, Spain: New Insights into Host–Vector–Pathogen Relationships
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Bartonella genus is comprised of several species of zoonotic relevance and rodents are reservoirs for some of these Bartonella species. As there were no data about the range of Bartonella species circulating among rodents in the Canary Islands, our main aim was to overcome this lack of knowledge by targeting both the citrate synthase (gltA) and the RNA polymerase beta subunit (rpoB) genes. A total of 181 small mammals and 154 ectoparasites were obtained in three of the Canary Islands, namely Tenerife, La Palma, and Lanzarote. The overall prevalence of Bartonella DNA in rodents was 18.8%, whereas the prevalence in ectoparasites was 13.6%. Bartonella sequences closely related to the zoonotic species Bartonella elizabethae, Bartonella tribocorum, and Bartonella rochalimae were identified in rodents, whereas two different gltA haplotypes similar to B. elizabethae were also detected in fleas. Furthermore, Bartonella queenslandensis DNA was also identified in rodents. A strong host specificity was observed, since B. elizabethae DNA was only found in Mus musculus domesticus, whereas gltA and rpoB sequences closely related to the rest of Bartonella species were only identified in Rattus rattus, which is probably due to the host specificity of the arthropod species that act as vectors in these islands. Our results indicate that humans may contract Bartonella infection by contact with rodents in the Canary Islands.
KeywordsBartonella Bartonella elizabethae Rodents Ectoparasites Fleas
This work was supported by “Fundación CajaCanarias (BIO20).” We thank the Excmos. Cabildos Insulares of Tenerife, La Palma, and Lanzarote.
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