Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Genetic Diversity of Bartonella henselae Infections in Pet Cats in Four Regions of the United States

L. Guptill, C. C. Wu, H. HogenEsch, L. N. Slater, N. Glickman, A. Dunham, H. Syme, L. Glickman

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80 Scopus citations


Blood was collected from a convenience sample of 271 pet cats aged 3 months to 2 years (mean age, 8 months, median and mode, 6 months) between May 1997 and September 1998 in four areas of the United States (southern California, Florida, metropolitan Chicago, and metropolitan Washington, D.C.). Sixty-five (24%) cats had Bartonella henselae bacteremia, and 138 (51%) cats were seropositive for B. henselae. Regional prevalences for bacteremia and seropositivity were highest in Florida (33% and 67%, respectively) and California (28% and 62%, respectively) and lowest in the Washington, D.C. (12% and 28%, respectively) and Chicago (6% and 12%, respectively) areas. No cats bacteremic with B. clarridgeiae were found. The 16S rRNA type was determined for 49 B. henselae isolates. Fourteen of 49 cats (28.6%) were infected with 16S rRNA type I, 32 (65.3%) with 16S rRNA type II, and three (6.1%) were coinfected with 16S rRNA types I and II. Flea infestation was a significant risk factor for B. henselae bacteremia (odds ratio = 2.82, 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 7.3). Cats ≥13 months old were significantly less likely to be bacteremic than cats <6 months old (odds ratio = 0.18, 95% confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.61). Flea infestation, adoption from a shelter or as a stray cat, hunting, and being from Florida or California were significant risk factors for B. henselae seropositivity. DNA fingerprint was significantly associated with region (P = 0.03) and indoor/outdoor status of cats (P = 0.03).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-659
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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