Drivers of Bartonella infection in micromammals and their fleas in a Mediterranean peri-urban area

Aitor Cevidanes, Laura Altet, Andrea D. Chirife, Tatiana Proboste, Javier Millán

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    © 2017 People living at the human/wildlife interface are at risk of becoming infected with Bartonella for which micromammals act as reservoir. We aimed to determine the factors related to the prevalence of Bartonella and its haplotype diversity in micromammals and in their fleas in a Mediterranean peri-urban environment. We analyzed 511 micromammals, chiefly 407 wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), captured into Barcelona metropolitan area (Spain) in spring and autumn from 2011 to 2013 in two natural and two adjacent residential areas, their fleas (grouped in 218 monospecific pools) and 29 fetuses from six Bartonella-positive female wood mice. Amplification of a fragment of ITS was carried out by real time PCR. Prevalence was 49% (57% in the dominant species, the wood mouse), and 12 haplotypes were detected. In general, prevalence was higher in those hosts more heavily infested by fleas, coincident with higher rates of capture, in autumn than in spring, and in adults than in juveniles. Prevalence did not differ between natural and residential areas except for one prevalent haplotype, which was more frequent in natural areas. Prevalence in flea pools (58%) was only explained by Bartonella occurrence in the pool host. In 56.4% of the flea pools with identified Bartonella haplotypes, we found the same haplotype in the host and in its flea pool. Prevalence in wood mouse fetuses was 69%, with at least one infected fetus in all litters, and two litters with all the fetuses infected. indicating that vertical transmission might be important in Bartonella epidemiology in the wood mouse. There is a hazard of Bartonella infection for people living in residential areas and those visiting peri-urban natural areas in Barcelona.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-188
    JournalVeterinary Microbiology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


    • Algerian mouse
    • Muridae
    • Shrew
    • Vector-borne

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