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Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;34(6):465-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cimid.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Experimental infection of Swiss webster mice with four rat bartonella strains: host specificity, bacteremia kinetics, dose dependent response, and histopathology.

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Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3150 Rampart Road, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA.


Groups of Swiss Webster outbred mice were each inoculated with one of four bartonella strains originally isolated from Rattus spp. at doses ranging from 10(1) to 10(7) bacteria per mouse. One strain, Rn1691yn (Bartonella coopersplainensis-like), infected mice and produced bacteremias at levels up to 10(5)bacteria/ml of blood and from 3 to 8 weeks duration. A dose dependent response was also observed with differing proportions of mice bacteremic following inoculation at different doses. In addition weeks-to-months long lags in bacteremia manifestation occurred following lower dose exposures. The possibility of bacterial transmission from bacteremic mice to uninfected cagemates was assessed and no naïve mice became infected from contacts with infected mice. Finally, a subset of bacteremic mice inoculated with high doses of Rn1691yn were examined histopathologically and multifocal, granulomatous lesions were detected in both liver and kidneys. The host specificity and infectivity of the strains is discussed in relation to their potential for zoonotic transmission to incidental hosts.

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