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J Microbiol Methods. 2007 May;69(2):273-81. Epub 2007 Feb 2.

A combined approach for the enhanced detection and isolation of Bartonella species in dog blood samples: pre-enrichment liquid culture followed by PCR and subculture onto agar plates.

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Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA.


Historically, direct plating, lysis centrifugation, or freeze-thaw approaches have proven to be highly insensitive methods for confirming Bartonella species infection in dogs. A prospective study was designed to compare diagnostic methods for the detection of Bartonella using samples submitted to the Vector-Borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at North Carolina State University. Methods included indirect immunofluorescence assay, PCR, direct inoculation of a blood agar plate (trypticase soy agar with 5% rabbit blood), and inoculation into a novel pre-enrichment liquid medium, Bartonella/alpha-Proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM). Sequential research efforts resulted in the development of a combinational approach consisting of pre-enrichment culture of Bartonella species in BAPGM, sub-inoculation of the liquid culture onto agar plates, followed by DNA amplification using PCR. The multi-faceted approach resulted in substantial improvement in the microbiological detection and isolation of Bartonella when compared to direct inoculation of a blood agar plate. Importantly, this approach facilitated the detection and subsequent isolation of both single and co-infections with two Bartonella species in the blood of naturally infected dogs. The use of a combinational approach of pre-enrichment culture and PCR may assist in the diagnostic confirmation of bartonellosis in dogs and other animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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