Global Distribution of Bartonella Infections in Domestic Bovine and Characterization of Bartonella bovis Strains Using Multi-Locus Sequence Typing.
Bartonella bovis is commonly detected in cattle. One B. bovis strain was recently isolated from a cow with endocarditis in the USA, suggesting its role as an animal pathogen. In the present study, we investigated bartonella infections in 893 cattle from five countries (Kenya, Thailand, Japan, Georgia, and Guatemala) and 103 water buffaloes from Thailand to compare the prevalence of the infection among different regions and different bovid hosts. We developed a multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) scheme based on nine loci (16S rRNA, gltA, ftsZ, groEL, nuoG, ribC, rpoB, ssrA, and ITS) to compare genetic divergence of B. bovis strains, including 26 representatives from the present study and two previously described reference strains (one from French cows and another from a cow with endocarditis in the USA). Bartonella bacteria were cultured in 6.8% (7/103) of water buffaloes from Thailand; all were B. bovis. The prevalence of bartonella infections in cattle varied tremendously across the investigated regions. In Japan, Kenya, and the Mestia district of Georgia, cattle were free from the infection; in Thailand, Guatemala, and the Dusheti and Marneuli districts of Georgia, cattle were infected with prevalences of 10-90%. The Bartonella isolates from cattle belonged to three species: B. bovis (n=165), B. chomelii (n=9), and B. schoenbuchensis (n=1), with the latter two species found in Georgia only. MLST analysis suggested genetic variations among the 28 analyzed B. bovis strains, which fall into 3 lineages (I, II, and III). Lineages I and II were found in cattle while lineage III was restricted to water buffaloes. The majority of strains (17/28), together with the strain causing endocarditis in a cow in the USA, belonged to lineage I. Further investigations are needed to determine whether B. bovis causes disease in bovids.