Bartonella and Bartonella Infections in China: From the Lab to the Clinic

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Comparative Immunology, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases




The current status of Bartonella studies in mainland China is reviewed including both laboratory and ecological data and limited clinical data. Detection and isolation of Bartonella species from arthropods, pets and small wild animals is commonplace; this includes a variety of known and emerging Bartonella pathogens. In contrast, the medical literature analyzed from 1980 to 2010 consists of 31 reports of only of cat scratch disease (CSD). Most cases are from the East and South-Eastern provinces, the most populated areas with best access to medical care. Disease typically is described as febrile illness with symptoms traditionally reported for CSD elsewhere in the world. Clinical observations and anamnesis are the primary bases for diagnosis, since specialized serologic and molecular diagnosis is not widely available. Seroprevalence of healthy populations determined using Bartonella henselae antigen varies from 9.6 to 19.6%. The apparent discordance postulated between possible environmental exposure to diverse Bartonella agents and restricted B. henselae case etiologies suggests a need to determine whether other Bartonella species may also be etiologic agents of human illness and emphasizes the importance of applying modern diagnostic tools widely in clinical practice in mainland China.