Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Sep;48(9):3295-300. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00750-10. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Does a feline leukemia virus infection pave the way for Bartonella henselae infection in cats?

Author information

Department of Veterinary Pathology, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Strasse 15, 14163 Berlin, Germany.


Domestic cats serve as the reservoir hosts of Bartonella henselae and may develop mild clinical symptoms or none after experimental infection. In humans, B. henselae infection can result in self-limiting cat scratch disease. However, immunocompromised patients may suffer from more-severe courses of infection or may even develop the potentially lethal disease bacillary angiomatosis. It was reasoned that cats with immunocompromising viral infections may react similarly to B. henselae infection. The aim of our study was to investigate the influence of the most important viruses known to cause immunosuppression in cats-Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV)-on natural B. henselae infection in cats. Accordingly, 142 cats from animal shelters were necropsied and tested for B. henselae and concurrent infections with FeLV, FIV, or FPV by PCR and immunohistochemistry. A significant association was found between B. henselae and FeLV infections (P = 0.00028), but not between B. henselae and FIV (P = 1.0) or FPV (P = 0.756) infection, age (P = 0.392), or gender (P = 0.126). The results suggest that susceptibility to B. henselae infection is higher in cats with concurrent FeLV infections, regardless of whether the infection is latent or progressive. Histopathology and immunohistochemistry for B. henselae failed to identify lesions that could be attributed specifically to B. henselae infection. We conclude that the course of natural B. henselae infection in cats does not seem to be influenced by immunosuppressive viral infections in general but that latent FeLV infection may predispose cats to B. henselae infection or persistence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center