Ehrlichia sp. DNA was amplified from 4 Ehrlichia-seroreactive horses from Mérida, Nicaragua. Sequencing of 16S rDNA, sodB, and groEL genes indicated that the bacterium is most likely a novel Ehrlichia species. The tick vector and the potential for canine and human infection remain unknown.
bacteria; tickborne pathogen; Anaplasmataceae; Ehrlichia; equine; horse; PCR; DNA sequencing; Central America; Nicaragua
Bone marrow (BM) is a major hematopoietic organ that can harbour a variety of vector-borne pathogens; however, knowledge of BM pathological changes in dogs infected with vector-borne pathogens is limited. Thus, the aim of the present study was to assess the pathological changes in canine BM associated with natural infections by four vector-borne pathogens, as well as to determine the relationships between such changes and abnormalities of the peripheral blood.
Cytological disorders and pathological changes of the BM of 83 dogs naturally-infected with one or more of four vector-borne pathogens (i.e., Anaplasma platys, Leishmania infantum, Babesia vogeli and Hepatozoon canis) were evaluated and compared with the corresponding hematological findings.
Dysgranulopoiesis and dysmegakaryocytopoiesis were the most frequently observed BM abnormalities in infected dogs. Erythroid suppression, and lymphocytic, monocytic and macrophage hyperplasia were also observed. Interestingly, associations between suppression and hyperplasia of specific cell lines in the marrow and corresponding changes in numbers of circulating peripheral blood cells were not observed.
Infections with one or more of the vector-borne pathogens examined in this study should be considered as differential diagnoses for secondary dysmyelopoiesis.
Bone marrow; Cytology; Vector-borne pathogens; Dysplasia; Secondary dysmyelopoiesis
Anaplasma platys is an obligate intracellular rickettsial pathogen that infects platelets of dogs, forming basophilic intracellular morulae. In the present report, cellular inclusions were documented in bone marrow thrombocyte precursors of two young naturally infected dogs, indicating that A. platys can infect megakaryocytes and promegakaryocytes.
Bartonella; Canis latrans; coyotes; cardiac valves; endocarditis; zoonoses; bacteria; vector-borne infections
Bartonella henselae; Bartonella koehlerae; wild birds; ITS DNA; intergenic spacer region DNA; vector-borne; zoonotic; bacterial disease; bacteria; zoonoses
Tick-borne pathogens cause a spectrum of disease manifestations in both dogs and humans. Recognizing regional and temporal shifts in exposure are important as tick distributions change. To better delineate regional exposure to canine tick-borne pathogens, an expanded set of species-specific peptides were used to detect Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Aph), Anaplasma platys (Apl), Ehrlichia canis (Ec), Ehrlichia chaffeensis (Ech), Ehrlichia ewingii (Eew), and Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) antibodies in canine serum.
Archived canine serum samples (n=6,582) collected during 2008–2010 and in 2012 from the US, Canada, and the Caribbean were retrospectively screened for antibodies against Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species-specific peptides. Overall, regional and temporal seroprevalence rates were determined.
Overall Bb and Eew were the most seroprevalent pathogens. During 2008–2010, seroprevalence rates increased overall for Aph and Ech, and regionally, Bb and Aph seroprevalence rates increased in the South. Canada had unexpectedly high seroprevalence rates for Ec and Apl. The most common co-exposures were Eew+Ech, followed by Aph+Bb and Eew+Bb.
This study demonstrated significant shifts in canine vector-borne disease seroprevalence rates. The use of specific peptides facilitated improved geographic delineation of tick-borne pathogen distributions among dogs, which may enhance epidemiological surveillance of vector-borne pathogens shared by dogs and humans.
canine vector-borne disease; Lyme disease; Anaplasma; Ehrlichia; Borrelia burgdorferi; seroprevalence
Measurement of cytokine concentrations within body fluids is a means of recognizing subclinical and/or unresolved, infectious and inflammatory states in patients. In the urinary tract, such information may be useful for identifying patients with pyelonephritis, asymptomatic bacteriuria, recurrent infections, and cystitis. One such cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6), is recognized as a primary cytokine that is produced following exposure of the urothelium to bacterial virulence factors. Complicating reliable testing for this and other cytokines is the nature of urine itself. Urine varies widely in its composition as indicated by the range of pH and urine specific gravity (USG) observed in healthy patients. An additional variable is the protein and carbohydrate matrix capable of hindering immunologic testing modalities, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of urine pH, USG, and matrix while optimizing a canine-specific chemiluminescent ELISA for the measurement of IL-6 in the urine of dogs. Urine spiked with IL-6 obtained maximal IL-6 quantitative recoveries of only 55 ± 10% (mean ± 1 standard deviation) when an ELISA optimized for cell culture supernatants was used. The urine matrix and variations in USG were determined to by contributing to this poor IL-6 recovery. Using specific matrix inhibitors and optimal dilutions improved the IL-6 quantitative recovery to 91 ± 5%. Urine pH (5.5–9.5) had no effect. The current work underscores the importance of critically optimizing testing modalities for biomarkers, particularly if they are immunologic in origin.
Cytokine; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; interleukin-6; matrix; urine
Patients with infection from bacteremic Bartonella spp., tested using Bartonella Alphaproteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM), were retrospectively categorized into one of two groups that included those whose blood was collected once (group 1; n = 55) or three times (group 2; n = 36) within a 1-week period. Overall, 19 patients (20.8%) were PCR positive for one or more Bartonella spp. using the BAPGM platform. Seven patients (12.7%) in group 1 tested positive, and 12 patients (33.3%) in group 2 tested positive. Detection was improved when the patients were tested three times within a 1-week period (odds ratio, 3.4 [95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 9.8]; P = 0.02). Obtaining three sequential blood samples during a 1-week period should be considered a diagnostic approach when bartonellosis is suspected.
Anaplasmosis, caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Anaplasma platys, and ehrlichiosis, caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, the "Panola Mountain Ehrlichia" and Ehrlichia muris-like pathogens have been identified as emerging tick borne infectious diseases in dogs and human patients. Persistent intravascular infection with these bacteria is well documented in dogs, but is less well documented in human beings.
Serology and PCR targeting multiple microbial genes, followed by DNA sequencing, was used to test sequential blood samples. Tissue culture isolation was attempted in two laboratories.
A. platys, E. chaffeensis, and E. ewingii DNA was amplified from two Anaplasma and Ehrlichia seronegative family members and their dog, all lacking typical symptoms of anaplasmosis or ehrlichiosis. Following treatment with doxycycline, the dog and mother were Anaplasma and Ehrlichia spp. PCR negative.
Sequential PCR testing provided molecular evidence supporting intravascular persistence of A. platys and Ehrlichia spp. in two humans and their dog. Diagnosticians and clinicians should consider the potential for co-infections due to these tick borne organisms.
Anaplasma; Ehrlichia; Rickettsemia; PCR; DNA sequencing
A novel strain of Mycobacterium iranicum, a recently described nontuberculous Mycobacterium species, was isolated from the sputum of a woman. The source of infection was not determined; however, fomite transmission of inhaled aerosolized secretions from her husband's sleep apnea equipment was historically possible.
Here, we report latent infections with Bartonella quintana and a hemotropic Mycoplasma sp. in a research colony of cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). Sequence alignments, evolutionary analysis, and signature nucleotide sequence motifs of the hemotropic Mycoplasma 16S rRNA and RNase P genes indicate the presence of a novel organism.
PCR amplification targeting the 16S rRNA gene was used to test individuals with and without extensive arthropod and animal contact for the possibility of hemotropic mycoplasma infection. The prevalence of hemotropic mycoplasma infection (4.7%) was significantly greater in previously reported cohorts of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, spouses of veterinary professionals, and others with extensive arthropod exposure and/or frequent animal contact than in a previously reported cohort of patients examined by a rheumatologist because of chronic joint pain or evidence of small-vessel disease (0.7%). Based upon DNA sequence analysis, a Mycoplasma ovis-like species was the most prevalent organism detected; however, infection with “Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum” and a potentially novel, but incompletely characterized, hemotropic Mycoplasma species was also documented. Historical exposure to animals and arthropod vectors that can harbor hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. should be considered during epidemiological investigations and in the evaluation of individual patients.
Canine vector-borne diseases (CVBD) are caused by a diverse array of pathogens with varying biological behaviors that result in a wide spectrum of clinical presentations and laboratory abnormalities. For many reasons, the diagnosis of canine vector-borne infectious diseases can be challenging for clinicians. The aim of the present study was to compare CVBD serological and molecular testing as the two most common methodologies used for screening healthy dogs or diagnosing sick dogs in which a vector-borne disease is suspected.
We used serological (Anaplasma species, Babesia canis, Bartonella henselae, Bartonella vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii, Borrelia burgdorferi, Ehrlichia canis, and SFG Rickettsia) and molecular assays to assess for exposure to, or infection with, 10 genera of organisms that cause CVBDs (Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, Francisella, hemotropic Mycoplasma, Neorickettsia, Rickettsia, and Dirofilaria). Paired serum and EDTA blood samples from 30 clinically healthy dogs (Group I) and from 69 sick dogs suspected of having one or more canine vector-borne diseases (Groups II-IV), were tested in parallel to establish exposure to or infection with the specific CVBDs targeted in this study.
Among all dogs tested (Groups I-IV), the molecular prevalences for individual CVBD pathogens ranged between 23.3 and 39.1%. Similarly, pathogen-specific seroprevalences ranged from 43.3% to 59.4% among healthy and sick dogs (Groups I-IV). Among these representative sample groupings, a panel combining serological and molecular assays run in parallel resulted in a 4-58% increase in the recognition of exposure to or infection with CVBD.
We conclude that serological and PCR assays should be used in parallel to maximize CVBD diagnosis.
Canine vector-borne diseases; Serology; Molecular testing; Diagnostic panel
Canine vector borne diseases (CVBDs) comprise illnesses caused by a spectrum of pathogens that are transmitted by arthropod vectors. Some dogs have persistent infections without apparent clinical, hematological or biochemical abnormalities, whereas other dogs develop acute illnesses, persistent subclinical infections, or chronic debilitating diseases. The primary objective of this study was to screen healthy dogs for serological and molecular evidence of regionally important CVBDs.
Clinically healthy dogs (n = 118), comprising three different groups: Gp I blood donor candidates (n = 47), Gp II healthy dog volunteers (n = 50), and Gp III stray dogs (n = 21) were included in the study. Serum and ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) anti-coagulated blood specimens collected from each dog were tested for CVBD pathogens.
Of the 118 dogs tested, 97 (82%) dogs had been exposed to or were infected with one or more CVBD pathogens. By IFA testing, 9% of Gp I, 42% of Gp II and 19% of Gp III dogs were seroreactive to one or more CVBD pathogens. Using the SNAP 4DX® assay, Gp I dogs were seronegative for Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp., and B. burgdorferi (Lyme disease) antibodies and D. immitis antigen. In Gp II, 8 dogs were Ehrlichia spp. seroreactive, 2 were infected with D. immitis and 1 was B. burgdorferi (Lyme disease) seroreactive. In Gp III, 6 dogs were infected with D. immitis and 4 were Ehrlichia spp. seroreactive. Using the BAPGM diagnostic platform, Bartonella DNA was PCR amplified and sequenced from 19% of Gp I, 20% of Gp II and 10% of Gp III dogs. Using PCR and DNA sequencing, 6% of Gps I and II and 19% of Gp III dogs were infected with other CVBD pathogens.
The development and validation of specific diagnostic testing modalities has facilitated more accurate detection of CVBDs. Once identified, exposure to vectors should be limited and flea and tick prevention enforced.
Healthy dogs; CVBDs; Co-infection; Blood donors
Hemotropic mycoplasmas are epicellular erythrocytic bacteria that can cause infectious anemia in some mammalian species. Worldwide, hemotropic mycoplasmas are emerging or re-emerging zoonotic pathogens potentially causing serious and significant health problems in wildlife. The objective of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of hemotropic Mycoplasma species in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) with and without Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destrucans, the causative agent of white nose syndrome (WNS) that causes significant mortality events in bats.
In order to establish the prevalence of hemotropic Mycoplasma species in a population of 68 little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) with (n = 53) and without (n = 15) white-nose syndrome (WNS), PCR was performed targeting the 16S rRNA gene.
The overall prevalence of hemotropic Mycoplasmas in bats was 47%, with similar (p = 0.5725) prevalence between bats with WNS (49%) and without WNS (40%). 16S rDNA sequence analysis (~1,200 bp) supports the presence of a novel hemotropic Mycoplasma species with 91.75% sequence homology with Mycoplasma haemomuris. No differences were found in gene sequences generated from WNS and non-WNS animals.
Gene sequences generated from WNS and non-WNS animals suggest that little brown bats could serve as a natural reservoir for this potentially novel Mycoplasma species. Currently, there is minimal information about the prevalence, host-specificity, or the route of transmission of hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. among bats. Finally, the potential role of hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. as co-factors in the development of disease manifestations in bats, including WNS in Myotis lucifugus, remains to be elucidated.
Hemotropic mycoplasma; Bat; Haemoplasma; Mycplasma; WNS
Prevalence of Bartonella spp. was high, especially among patients with a history of Lyme disease.
Bartonella spp. infection has been reported in association with an expanding spectrum of symptoms and lesions. Among 296 patients examined by a rheumatologist, prevalence of antibodies against Bartonella henselae, B. koehlerae, or B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii (185 [62%]) and Bartonella spp. bacteremia (122 [41.1%]) was high. Conditions diagnosed before referral included Lyme disease (46.6%), arthralgia/arthritis (20.6%), chronic fatigue (19.6%), and fibromyalgia (6.1%). B. henselae bacteremia was significantly associated with prior referral to a neurologist, most often for blurred vision, subcortical neurologic deficits, or numbness in the extremities, whereas B. koehlerae bacteremia was associated with examination by an infectious disease physician. This cross-sectional study cannot establish a causal link between Bartonella spp. infection and the high frequency of neurologic symptoms, myalgia, joint pain, or progressive arthropathy in this population; however, the contribution of Bartonella spp. infection, if any, to these symptoms should be systematically investigated.
Bartonella; bacteremia; blood; arthritis; myalgia; PCR; DNA sequencing; bacteria; Lyme disease; rheumatic; Lyme disease
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) have resurged in the United States and globally. Bed bugs are hematophagous ectoparasites of humans and other animals, including domestic pets, chickens, and bats, and their blood feeding habits contribute to their potential as disease vectors. Several species of Bartonella are re-emergent bacterial pathogens that also affect humans, domestic pets, bats and a number of other wildlife species. Because reports of both bed bugs and Bartonella have been increasing in the U.S., and because their host ranges can overlap, we investigated whether the resurgences of these medically important pathogens and their potential vector might be linked, by screening for Bartonella spp. in bed bugs collected from geographic areas where these pathogens are prevalent and from bed bugs that have been in culture in the laboratory for several years. We screened a total of 331 bed bugs: 316 bed bugs from 36 unique collections in 29 geographic locations in 13 states, 10 bed bugs from two colonies maintained in the laboratory for 3 yr, and 5 bed bugs from a colony that has been in culture since before the recent resurgence of bed bugs. Bartonella spp. DNA was screened using a polymerase chain reaction assay targeting the 16S–23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer region. Bartonella DNA was not amplified from any bed bug, but five bed bugs from four different apartments of an elderly housing building in North Carolina contained DNA sequences that corresponded to Burkholderia multivorans, an important pathogen in nosocomial infections that was not previously linked to an arthropod vector.
In conjunction with efforts to assess pathogen exposure in feral pigs from the southeastern United States, we amplified Bartonella henselae, B. koehlerae, and B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii from blood samples. Feral pigs may represent a zoonotic risk for hunters or butchers and pose a potential threat to domesticated livestock.
swine; pigs; Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii; Bartonella henselae; Bartonella koehlerae; bacteremia; bacteria; zoonoses; United States; dispatch
Only indirect or circumstantial evidence has been published to support transmission of Rickettsia rickettsii by Amblyomma americanum (lone star) ticks in North America. This study provides molecular evidence that A. americanum ticks can function, although most likely infrequently, as vectors of Rocky Mountain spotted fever for humans.
ticks; disease; rickettsia; rash; thrombocytopenia; bacteria; lone star tick; North Carolina; vector-borne infections; dispatch
During a two year period, a 27-year-old female veterinarian experienced migraine headaches, seizures, including status epilepticus, and other neurological and neurocognitive abnormalities. Prior to and during her illness, she had been actively involved in hospital-based work treating domestic animals, primarily cats and dogs, in Grenada and Ireland and anatomical research requiring the dissection of wild animals (including lions, giraffe, rabbits, mongoose, and other animals), mostly in South Africa. The woman reported contact with fleas, ticks, lice, biting flies, mosquitoes, spiders and mites and had also been scratched or bitten by dogs, cats, birds, horses, reptiles, rabbits and rodents. Prior diagnostic testing resulted in findings that were inconclusive or within normal reference ranges and no etiological diagnosis had been obtained to explain the patient’s symptoms.
PCR assays targeting Anaplasma spp. Bartonella spp. and hemotopic Mycoplasma spp. were used to test patient blood samples. PCR positive amplicons were sequenced directly and compared to GenBank sequences. In addition, Bartonella alpha Proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) enrichment blood culture was used to facilitate bacterial growth and Bartonella spp. serology was performed by indirect fluorescent antibody testing.
Anaplasma platys, Bartonella henselae and Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum DNA was amplified and sequenced from the woman’s blood, serum or blood culture samples. Her serum was variably seroreactive to several Bartonella sp. antigens. Despite symptomatic improvement, six months of doxycycline most likely failed to eliminate the B. henselae infection, whereas A. platys and Candidatus M. haematoparvum DNA was no longer amplified from post-treatment samples.
As is typical of many veterinary professionals, this individual had frequent exposure to arthropod vectors and near daily contact with persistently bacteremic reservoir hosts, including cats, the primary reservoir host for B. henselae, and dogs, the presumed primary reservoir host for A. platys and Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum. Physicians caring for veterinarians should be aware of the occupational zoonotic risks associated with the daily activities of these animal health professionals.
Bartonella; Mycoplasma; Anaplasma; Headache; Migraines; Seizures; Serology; PCR
Bacteria; Bartonella; dementia; hallucinations; arthritis; vector; antibiotics; infection; disease; another dimension
Candidatus Bartonella melophagi was isolated by blood culture from 2 women, 1 of whom was co-infected with B. henselae. Partial 16S rRNA, RNA polymerase B, and citrate synthase genes and 16S–23S internal transcribed spacer sequences indicated that human isolates were similar to Candidatus B. melophagi.
Bacteria; Bartonella; sheep; keds; B. melophagi; B. henselae; blood-borne infection; dispatch
Bartonella species, transmitted by arthropods or animal bites and scratches, are emerging pathogens in human and veterinary medicine. PCR and DNA sequencing were used to test oral swabs collected from dogs. Results indicated the presence of 4 Bartonella species: B. bovis, B. henselae, B. quintana, and B. vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii.
Bartonella DNA; dog saliva; emerging pathogens; dispatch
Loggerhead sea turtle; Bartonella; ITS region; Pap 31; Caretta caretta; PCR analysis
Using PCR in conjunction with pre-enrichment culture, we detected Bartonella henselae and B. vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii in the blood of 14 immunocompetent persons who had frequent animal contact and arthropod exposure.
Bartonella; culture; PCR; immunocompetent; fatigue; dispatch