Bartonella species cause serious human infections globally, including bacillary angiomatosis, Oroya fever, trench fever, and endocarditis. We describe a patient who had fever and splenomegaly after traveling to Peru and also had bacteremia from an organism that resembled Bartonella bacilliformis, the causative agent of Oroya fever, which is endemic to Peru. However, genetic analyses revealed that this fastidious bacterium represented a previously uncultured and unnamed bartonella species, closely related to B. clarridgeiae and more distantly related to B. bacilliformis. We characterized this isolate, including its ability to cause fever and sustained bacteremia in a rhesus macaque. The route of infection and burden of human disease associated with this newly described pathogen are currently unknown.
Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.