Detection of Bartonella species in the blood of veterinarians and veterinary technicians: a newly recognized occupational hazard?

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bartonella species are important emerging pathogens in human and veterinary medicine. In the context of their daily activities, veterinary professionals have frequent animal contact and arthropod exposures. Detection of Bartonella spp. using traditional culture methods has been limited by poor sensitivity, making it difficult to determine the prevalence of infection in this population. We have developed a detection method combining enrichment culture and molecular amplification, which increases testing sensitivity. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of detectable Bartonella spp. in the blood of veterinary personnel and nonveterinary control subjects. Bartonella was detected by enrichment blood culture with conventional PCR followed by DNA sequencing. RESULTS were correlated with epidemiological variables and symptoms. RESULTS: We detected DNA from at least one Bartonella species in 32 (28%) of the 114 veterinary subjects. After DNA sequencing, the Bartonella species could be determined for 27 of the 32 infected subjects, including B. henselae in 15 (56%), B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii in seven (26%), B. koehlerae in six (22%), and a B. volans-like sequence in one (4%). Seventy percent of Bartonella-positive subjects described headache compared with 40% of uninfected veterinarians (p=0.009). Irritability was also reported more commonly by infected subjects (68% vs. 43%, p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Our study supports an emerging body of evidence that cryptic Bartonella bloodstream infection may be more frequent in humans than previously recognized and may induce symptoms. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine the natural course and clinical features of Bartonella infection.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1089/vbz.2013.1512

Publication Info

Lantos, Paul M, Ricardo G Maggi, Brandy Ferguson, Jay Varkey, Lawrence P Park, Edward B Breitschwerdt and Christopher W Woods (2014). Detection of Bartonella species in the blood of veterinarians and veterinary technicians: a newly recognized occupational hazard?. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 14(8). pp. 563–570. 10.1089/vbz.2013.1512 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13957.

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Scholars@Duke

Lantos

Paul Michael Lantos

Professor of Medicine

I am interested in the spatial epidemiology of infectious diseases. My research utilizes geographic information systems (GIS) and geostatistical analyses to understand the spatial and spatiotemporal distribution of diseases, and their relationship with environmental and demographic factors. I currently have active studies evaluating the spatial distribution of numerous domestic and international infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), cytomegalovirus, influenza, and Lyme disease. Additionally I am interested in maternal-child health, and I have a number of ongoing studies of neighborhood health disparities in obstetrical care and birth outcomes. I am interested in GIS education and have conducted workshops on public health GIS in Mongolia and China.


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