Bartonella spp. in pets and effect on human health

Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Mar;12(3):389-94. doi: 10.3201/eid1203.050931.


Among the many mammals infected with Bartonella spp., pets represent a large reservoir for human infection because most Bartonella spp. infecting them are zoonotic. Cats are the main reservoir for Bartonella henselae, B. clarridgeiae, and B. koehlerae. Dogs can be infected with B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. henselae, B. clarridgeiae, B. washoensis, B. elizabethae, and B. quintana. The role of dogs as an important reservoir of Bartonella spp. is less clear than for cats because domestic dogs are more likely to be accidental hosts, at least in nontropical regions. Nevertheless, dogs are excellent sentinels for human infections because a similar disease spectrum develops in dogs. Transmission of B. henselae by cat fleas is better understood, although new potential vectors (ticks and biting flies) have been identified. We review current knowledge on the etiologic agents, clinical features, and epidemiologic characteristics of these emerging zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / microbiology*
  • Bartonella / classification
  • Bartonella / isolation & purification
  • Bartonella / physiology*
  • Bartonella Infections / epidemiology*
  • Bartonella Infections / microbiology
  • Bartonella Infections / veterinary*
  • Disease Reservoirs / microbiology*
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary*
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / microbiology
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / microbiology*
  • Zoonoses / transmission*