In his homage to Lucretius ('Georgica'), Vergil is credited with stating: 'Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas' ('Fortunate is he who knows the causes of things'). Based on numerous commentaries and publications it is obvious that clinicians, diagnosticians and biomedical research scientists continue to struggle with disease causation, particularly in the assessment of the pathogenic role of 'stealth pathogens' that produce persistent infections in the host. Bartonella species, because of their evolutionary ability to induce persistent intravascular infections, present substantial challenges for researchers attempting to clarify the ability of these stealth bacteria to cause disease. By studying the comparative biological and pathological behaviour of microbes across mammalian genera, researchers might be able more rapidly to advance medical science and, subsequently, patient care by undertaking focused research efforts involving a single mammalian species or by attempting to recapitulate a complex disease in an rodent model. Therefore, in an effort to further assist in the establishment of disease causation by stealth pathogens, we use recent research observations involving the genus Bartonella to propose an additional postulate of comparative infectious disease causation to Koch's postulates.
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