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Vet Microbiol. 2004 Sep 8;102(3-4):183-8.

Pathogen carriage by the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché) in the United Kingdom.

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Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, North Somerset BS40 5DU, UK.


The carriage of Bartonella, Rickettsia felis and haemoplasma species was investigated in cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) collected from 121 cats and dogs in the United Kingdom. DNA extracted from fleas was analysed using genus and species-specific PCR and amplicons were characterised using DNA sequencing. Fifty percent of flea samples were PCR positive for at least one pathogen. Twenty one percent were positive for R. felis, 17% for Bartonella henselae, 40% for haemoplasma species and 20% were infected with more than one of the pathogen species studied. It is clear from the results in this study that companion cats and dogs are commonly infested with Ct. felis carrying bacterial pathogens of significance to human and animal health. These findings raise the possibility that Ct. felis found on dogs and cats are a potential source of infection with such pathogens for humans.

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