Objective: To provide a review of clinically relevant observations related to Bartonella species as emerging pathogens in veterinary and human medicine.
Data sources: Literature as cited in PubMed and as generated by each of the authors who have contributed to various aspects of the clinical understanding of bartonellosis.
Human data synthesis: Important historical and recent publications illustrating the evolving role of animal reservoirs as a source of human infection.
Veterinary data synthesis: Comprehensive review of the veterinary literature.
Conclusions: In addition to inducing life-threatening illnesses, such as endocarditis, myocarditis, and meningoencephalitis and contributing to chronic debilitating disease, such as arthritis, osteomyelitis, and granulomatous inflammation in cats, dogs, and potentially other animal species; pets and wildlife species can serve as persistently infected reservoir hosts for the transmission of Bartonella spp. infection to veterinary professionals and others with direct animal contact.