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J Med Microbiol. 1999 Sep;48(9):849-856. doi: 10.1099/00222615-48-9-849.

Seroprevalence of Bartonella henselae in cats in Germany.

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Max von Pettenkofer-Institut für Hygiene und Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität Munchen, Pettenkoferstraβe 9a, D-80336 Müchen.
Institut für Parasitologie, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Bünteweg 17, D-30559 Hannover.
WHO-Centre 'Veterinary Public Health' an der Tierzärztlichen Hochschule Hannover, Bünteweg 2, D-30559 Hannover, Germany.


Bartonella henselae and B. quintana infections in man are associated with various clinical manifestations including cat-scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis and bacteraemia. While cats are the natural reservoir for B. henselae, the source of B. quintana is unclear. In this study, the sera of 713 cats from Germany were examined for the presence of antibodies against B. henselae, B. quintana or Afipia felis by an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Bartonella-specific antibody titres of > or =50 were found in 15.0% of the cats. There was substantial cross-reactivity among the various Bartonella antigens, although single sera showed high titres against B. henselae but not against B. quintana and vice versa. Antibodies against A. felis were not detected in any of these cats. Statistical analysis indicated that there is no correlation between Bartonella infections and the sex, age or breed of the cat or its hunting behavior. There was also no correlation between bartonella and toxoplasma infections in cats. However, whereas 16.8% of cats from northern Germany had B. quintana-specific antibodies, only 8.0% of cats from southern Germany were seropositive for B. quintana. No statistically significant difference was found for B. henselae. IFA-positive and IFA-negative sera were used for immunoblot analysis including B. henselae and B. quintana. Marked reactivity was observed with protein bands at 80, 76, 73, 65, 37, 33 and 15 kDa. The results of this study suggest that B. henselae, and possibly a B. quintana-related pathogen, but not A. felis, are common in cats in Germany, and that there are differences in the geographic distribution of bartonella infections in cats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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