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Detection of Flea-Borne Pathogens from Cats and Fleas in a Maltese Shelter

Mifsud, Marta, Takács, Nóra, Gyurkovszky, Mónika, Solymosi, Norbert, Farkas, Róbert
Vector borne and zoonotic diseases 2020 v.20 no.7 pp. 529-534
Bartonella clarridgeiae, Bartonella henselae, Bartonella koehlerae, Ctenocephalides canis, Ctenocephalides felis, DNA, Mycoplasma haemominutum, Rickettsia felis, blood, blood sampling, cat scratch disease, cats, pathogens, polymerase chain reaction, Malta
In a sanctuary located on the island of Malta, 23 clinically healthy cats randomly selected were sampled for blood and fleas. Only fleas were collected from 35 cats. All fleas were identified as Ctenocephalides felis, except for one specimen of Ctenocephalides canis. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this may be the first time to establish the occurrence of Bartonella koehlerae and B. clarridgeiae, as well as of Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum in the blood samples of 11 cats (47.82% [95% CI: 29.33–67.04]) with conventional PCR assays. One or more pathogens were found in 54 (96.42% [95% CI: 86.74–99.70]) out of 56 pooled flea samples, the most prevalent was Rickettsia felis. The DNA of Bartonella henselae, the commonest etiological agent of cat scratch disease, was detected first time in a pooled flea sample of a cat.