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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Mar;76(5):1395-8. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02788-09. Epub 2010 Jan 8.

Prevalence of Bartonella henselae and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato DNA in ixodes ricinus ticks in Europe.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Universitätsklinikum, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Elfriede-Aulhorn-Strasse 6, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Bartonella spp. can cause persistent bloodstream infections in humans and animals. To determine whether Bartonella henselae is present in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks, we analyzed the prevalence of B. henselae DNA among tick stages compared to the prevalence of DNA from Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the pathogen most frequently transmitted by ticks. B. henselae DNA was present with a prevalence of up to approximately 40% in tick populations sampled in four European sites (Eberdingen, Germany; Klasdorf, Germany; Lembach, France; and Madeira, Portugal). The odds of detecting B. henselae DNA in nymphal ticks was approximately 14-fold higher than in adult ticks. No tick was found to be coinfected with B. henselae and B. burgdorferi sensu lato. Taken together, our data indicate that ticks might serve as a vector for the transmission of B. henselae to humans.

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