Epidemiology of Bartonella sp in Brazilian blood donors and domestic animals
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Bartonella are fastidious, hemotropic bacteria, which cause long-lasting bacteremia in mammals and are transmitted by animal bites, scratches, or a variety of vectors including sand flies, body lice, fleas and ticks. Throughout the world, Bartonella species are considered emerging pathogens. In humans, Bartonella spp. are the causative agents of cat-scratch disease (CSD), bacillary angiomatosis, bacillary peliosis, and endocarditis. There is also evolving evidence that supports a potential role for Bartonella spp. in patients with neurological and neuro-cognitive dysfunction and chronic illness associated with joint pain and fatigue. In Brazil, only one study has evaluated healthy subjects for exposure to these pathogens; however the study was delimited to a rural population. Our objective for this proposal is to detect the occurrence of active Bartonella spp. infection and/or exposure in a large blood donor population at a major public hospital in Campinas, Sao Paulo State. We would also like to collect samples from donor pets to establish preliminary data to suggest a zoonotic role for animals as reservoirs in pathogen amplification and transmission via competent vectors. Due the chronic and complex nature of disease caused by these bacterial infections, detection of infection in donors will justify implementation of screening procedures for these bacteria and education of blood donors, especially if there is a history of significant animal or vector exposure. We will utilize serology, PCR, sequencing, electron microscopy, and culture methods to adequately identify these pathogens from blood and determine the prevalence of exposure in this Brazilian population.
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