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Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2002 Jul;25(4):229-36.

Investigation of Bartonella infection in ixodid ticks from California.

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Department of Public Health, Institute of Environmental Health, China Medical College, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.


A total of 1253 ixodid ticks (254 tick pools) collected between the end of 1995 and the spring of 1997 from six California counties (El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Cruz, Shasta and Sonoma) were examined for the presence of Bartonella DNA by PCR of the citrate synthase gene. Of 1,119 adult Ixodes pacificus ticks tested, 26 (11.6%) of 224 pools, each containing five ticks, were positive (minimum percentage of ticks harboring detectable Bartonella DNA, 2.3%). Bartonella PCR-positive ticks were identified in five counties but none of the ticks from Los Angeles County was positive. Among 47 nymphal I. pacificus ticks collected in Sonoma County, one (10%) positive pool out of 10 pools was identified (minimum percentage of ticks harboring detectable Bartonella DNA, 2.1%). Among the 54 Dermacentor occidentalis grouped in 12 pools from Orange County, one pool (8.3%) was PCR positive for Bartonella and similarly one pool (14.3%) was positive among the 30 Dermacentor variabilis ticks grouped in seven pools. None of the three D. occidentalis from El Dorado County were positive. None of the nine tick pools positive for Ehrlichia phagocytophila were positive for Bartonella. Following our previous findings of Bartonella PCR-positive adult I. pacificus ticks in central coastal California, this is the first preliminary report of the presence of Bartonella DNA in I. pacificus nymphs and in Dermacentor sp. ticks. Distribution of Bartonella among ixodid ticks appears widespread in California.

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