Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii is a fastidious haemotropic Gram-negative bacterium that has been identified as an emerging causative agent for zoonotic diseases of human and dogs. This study aimed to develop a TaqMan-MGB probe based, highly sensitive and species-specific fluorescence quantitative PCR assay for rapid detection of B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii.
Bartonella quintana has been considered to be specifically adapted to humans. Our isolation of the organism from 2 of 36 captive rhesus macaques in China and finding antibodies against B. quintana in 12 of 33 indicates that the reservoir hosts of B. quintana may include primates other than humans.
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae), has a wide distribution in China with its northwestern limits among seven provinces. During 2006-2008, distribution information was collected in 33 urban and rural areas in those boundary provinces by collecting larvae or adult mosquito from different breeding sites. Additional information of seven sites was gathered from local health authorities. Three generally accepted climatic delineations affecting distribution of the species were studied for the northwestern distribution using a geographic information system software (ArcGIS). Climatic analysis showed that the annual mean temperature higher than 11°C, the mean temperature of the coldest month, January, higher than -5°C, and the annual precipitation above 500 mm covered almost all the confirmed areas and the seasonal expansion reached areas with nearly -10°C of the mean January temperature. As a main vector of dengue fever virus in a large part of China, where Aedes aegypti is absent, Ae. albopictus is also responsible for the risk for future epidemic of dengue fever and other viral diseases in China.
Bartonella infections are emerging in the Zhejiang Province of China. However, there has been no effort to date to explore the epidemiology of these infections in this region, nor to identify risk factors associated with exposure to Bartonella. The aim of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence of Bartonella in both patients bitten by dogs and blood donors (for control) in Eastern China, and to identify risk factors associated with exposure to Bartonella. As no previous data for this region have been published, this study will provide baseline data useful for Bartonella infection surveillance, control, and prevention.
To estimate the prevalence of Bartonella in small mammals of different species, during different seasons, and at different study sites, and to provide baseline data for the risk assessment of human Bartonella infection, we captured small mammals using snap traps in Zhejiang Province, China. Bartonella species were detected in small-mammal samples by polymerase chain reaction and positive amplicons were sequenced. Bartonella DNA was detected in 47% (90/192) of Apodemus agrarius, 31% (14/45) of Rattus losea, 16% (7/43) of Rattus norvegicus, 24% (9/37) of Eothenomys melanogaster, 4% (1/28) of Niviventer confucianus, 30% (7/23) of Suncus murinus, 22% (2/9) of Microtus fortis, 27% (2/7) of Rattus tanezumi, and 29% (2/7) of Apodemus peninsulae. No Bartonella DNA was detected in 27 unidentified Soricidae or nine Mus musculus. This is the first report of Bartonella DNA detected in E. melanogaster and N. confucianus. The prevalence of Bartonella DNA varied among small-mammal species, study sites, and seasons; the prevalence of Bartonella DNA between genders did not vary significantly within a species. The sequences we report were most similar to Bartonella grahamii.
Bartonella is a significant human pathogen and is the worlds most common bacterial zoonosis acquired from companion animals. However, there is no uniform method for Pulse-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) for Bartonella population genetics studies. Further, some genes of Bartonella can mutate frequently and may affect the use of PFGE for Bartonella. Here we designed methods to solve these problems. We standardized the bacterial concentration, selected the appropriate digestion enzyme, optimized the electrophoretic parameters and characterized reproducibly two Bartonella species strains. Thus we optimized the PFGE procedure and determined how often Bartonella mutated. Our data shows a practical protocol for inter- and intra-species identification of Bartonella and was reproducible using two species strains that showed no mutation occurred after two passages for B. elizabethae; but mutation did occur in B. henselae.
Dengue fever (DF) is often asymptomatic in endemic areas. Asymptomatic infection during a DF outbreak in China, where DF is not endemic, has not been reported until now. In this study a total of 365 subjects from 6 villages were recruited from October 4-7, 2009. Overall, 102 subjects (27.95%) were positive for dengue virus (DENV) IgM, and 14 subjects (3.84%) were positive for DENV IgG and IgM. In different age groups, seropositive rates varied from 12.50% to 50.00% for DENV IgM, and from 0% to 11.76% for DENV IgG. Seroprevalence of DENV IgM was significantly higher than that of DENV IgG. Seroprevalence rates of DENV IgM differed among different villages. However, the seroprevalence of DENV IgM was not statistically significantly different among gender and age groups. Asymptomatic DF infection is prevalent in non-endemic areas.
Although mammals are a well-studied group of animals, making accurate field identification of small mammals is still complex because of morphological variation across developmental stages, color variation of pelages, and often damaged osteological and dental characteristics. In 2008, small mammals were collected for an epidemiological study of a spotted fever outbreak in Hainan, China. Ten species of small mammals were identified by morphological characters in the field, most using pelage color characters only. The study is extended here, in order to assess whether DNA barcoding would be suitable as an identification tool in these small mammals. Barcode clusters showed some incongruence with morphospecies, especially for some species of Rattus and Niviventer, so molecular delineation was carried out with an expanded dataset of combined cytochrome b (Cyt-b) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences. COI sequences were successfully amplified from 83% of collected mammals, but failed in all specimens of Suncus murinus, which were thus excluded in DNA barcoding analysis. Of note, ten molecular taxonomic units were found from samples of nine morphologically identified species. Accordingly, 11 species of small mammals were present in the investigated areas, including four Rattus species, three Niviventer species, Callosciurus erythraeus, Neohylomys hainanensis, Tupaia belangeri, and Suncus murinus. Based on the results of the phylogenetic and molecular delineation analyses, the systematic status of some rodent species should be redefined. R. rattus hainanicus and R. rattus sladeni are synonyms of R. andamanensis. R. losea from China and Southeast Asia comprises two independent species: R. losea and R. sakeratensis. Finally, the taxonomic status of three putative species of Niviventer should be further confirmed according to morphological, molecular and ecological characters.
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