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J Clin Microbiol. 2003 Feb;41(2):645-50.

Bartonella strains from ground squirrels are identical to Bartonella washoensis isolated from a human patient.

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  • 1Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522, USA. mkosoy@cdc.gov


The most likely animal source of a human case of cardiac disease in Washoe County, Nev., was identified by comparison of DNA sequences of three genes (citrate synthase gltA, 60-kDa heat shock protein gene groEL, and 16S rRNA gene) of Bartonella washoensis cultured from the human patient in question and of Bartonella isolates obtained from the following Nevada rodents: Peromyscus maniculatus (17 isolates), Tamias minimus (11 isolates), Spermophilus lateralis (3 isolates), and Spermophilus beecheyi (7 isolates). Sequence analyses of gltA amplicons obtained from Bartonella from the rodents demonstrated considerable heterogeneity and resulted in the identification of 16 genetic variants that were clustered within three groups in phylogenetic analysis. Each of the three groups was associated with a rodent genus, Peromyscus, Tamias, or Spermophilus: The gltA, 16S rRNA gene, and groEL sequences of a Bartonella isolate obtained from a California ground squirrel (S. beecheyi) were completely identical to homologous sequences of B. washoensis, strongly suggesting that these animals were the source of infection in the human case.

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