Feline bartonellosis key issues and possible vectors

Ann Parasitol. 2018;64(4):309-315. doi: 10.17420/ap6404.165.


Bartonellosis is a disease caused by Bartonella spp. microorganisms which belong to the Rickettsiales order. This disease is a zoonosis, B. henselae, whose primary reservoir is the cat, which in humans causes a cat-scratch disease. In infected cats, symptoms such as fever, lymphedema, reproduction disorders, myocarditis, rhinotracheitis, gingivitis, and arthritis may be observed. Bartonella appears to be transmitted among cats and dogs in vivo exclusively by arthropod vectors (excepting perinatal transmission), not by biting or scratching. In the absence of these vectors, the disease does not spread. On the other hand, the disease can be spread to humans by bites and scratches, and it is highly likely that it is spread by arthropod vectors as well. This review presents a potential role of ticks and fleas in the transmission of bartonellosis. Clinicians should be aware that a common illness, such as infection with Bartonella, can be transmitted by arthropod vectors, and that a history of animal scratches or bites is not necessary for disease transmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Vectors*
  • Bartonella Infections / transmission
  • Bartonella Infections / veterinary*
  • Cat Diseases* / transmission
  • Cats
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical