Bartonella DNA in heart tissues of bats in central and eastern Europe and a review of phylogenetic relations of bat-associated bartonellae.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Bats are among the most widely distributed mammals worldwide and can represent hosts or reservoirs for a number of different pathogens. Bartonella spp. are opportunistic bacterial pathogens, which are transmitted by a large variety of arthropods. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence and host-associations of these Gram-negative bacteria in heart tissues of bats collected in four different countries from eastern and central Europe and to analyze their phylogenetic relationship with other bat-associated bartonellae. RESULTS:The results of this study show for the first time the presence of Bartonella spp. DNA in heart tissues of bats from central and eastern Europe. The overall prevalence of the infection was 1.38%. Phylogenetic analysis identified four new Bartonella spp. sequences, which were closely related with other Bartonella previously isolated from bats in Europe and North America. CONCLUSIONS:The gltA sequences of Bartonella spp. showed considerable heterogeneity in the phylogenetic analysis resulting in six different clades. Our study demonstrated the presence of Bartonella spp. only in heart tissues of bats from Romania, with two new bat species recorded as hosts (Myotis cf. alcathoe and Pipistrellus pipistrellus).
Project description:Bat-associated bartonellae, including Bartonella mayotimonensis and Candidatus Bartonella rousetti, were recently identified as emerging and potential zoonotic agents, respectively. However, there is no report of bat-associated bartonellae in Zambia. Thus, we aimed to isolate and characterize Bartonella spp. from bats and bat flies captured in Zambia by culturing and PCR. Overall, Bartonella spp. were isolated from six out of 36 bats (16.7%), while Bartonella DNA was detected in nine out of 19 bat flies (47.3%). Subsequent characterization using a sequence of five different genes revealed that three isolates obtained from Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) were Ca. B. rousetti. The isolates obtained from insectivorous bats (Macronycteris vittatus) were divided into two previously unclassified bat-associated bartonellae. A phylogenetic analysis of the six genotypes of Bartonella gltA sequences from nine pathogen-positive bat flies revealed that three genotypes belonged to the same clades as bat-associated bartonellae, including Ca. B. rousetti. The other three genotypes represented arthropod-associated bartonellae, which have previously been isolated only from ectoparasites. We demonstrated that Ca. B. rousetti is maintained between bats (R. aegyptiacus) and bat flies in Zambia. Continuous surveillance of Bartonella spp. in bats and serological surveys in humans in Africa are warranted to evaluate the public health importance of bat-associated bartonellae.
Project description:Although emerging nonviral pathogens remain relatively understudied in bat populations, there is an increasing focus on identifying bat-associated bartonellae around the world. Many novel Bartonella strains have been described from both bats and their arthropod ectoparasites, including Bartonella mayotimonensis, a zoonotic agent of human endocarditis. This cross-sectional study was designed to describe novel Bartonella strains isolated from bats sampled in Mexico and evaluate factors potentially associated with infection. A total of 238 bats belonging to seven genera were captured in five states of Central Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. Animals were screened by bacterial culture from whole blood and/or polymerase chain reaction of DNA extracted from heart tissue or blood. Bartonella spp. were isolated or detected in 54 (22.7%) bats, consisting of 41 (38%) hematophagous, 10 (16.4%) insectivorous, and three (4.3%) phytophagous individuals. This study also identified Balantiopteryx plicata as another possible bat reservoir of Bartonella. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models suggested that Bartonella infection was positively associated with blood-feeding diet and ectoparasite burden. Phylogenetic analysis identified a number of genetic variants across hematophagous, phytophagous, and insectivorous bats that are unique from described bat-borne Bartonella species. However, these strains were closely related to those bartonellae previously identified in bat species from Latin America.
Project description:Babesia spp. are hemoparasites which infect the red blood cells of a large variety of mammals. In bats, the only known species of the genus is Babesia vesperuginis. However, except a few old reports, the host range and geographical distribution of this bat parasite have been poorly studied. This study aimed to investigate the presence of piroplasms in tissues of bats collected in four different countries from eastern and central Europe: Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.A total of 461 bat carcasses (24 species) were collected between 2001 and 2016 from caves, mines and buildings. PCR was performed using specific primers targeting a portion of the 18S rDNA nuclear gene and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 mitochondrial gene, followed by sequencing.The results of this study show for the first time the presence of B. vesperuginis in bats in central and eastern Europe. The phylogenetic analysis of the 18S rDNA nuclear gene revealed no variability between the sequences and the phylogenetic analysis of the cox1 mitochondrial gene proved that B. vesperuginis could be divided into two subclades.Our study showed a broad geographical distribution of B. vesperuginis in European bats, reporting its presence in five new host species (M. cf. alcathoe, M. bechsteinii, M. myotis, Pi. nathusii and V. murinus) and three new countries.
Project description:In addition to several emerging viruses, bats have been reported to host multiple bacteria but their zoonotic threats remain poorly understood, especially in Africa where the diversity of bats is important. Here, we investigated the presence and diversity of Bartonella and Rickettsia spp. in bats and their ectoparasites (Diptera and Siphonaptera) collected across South Africa and Swaziland. We collected 384 blood samples and 14 ectoparasites across 29 different bat species and found positive samples in four insectivorous and two frugivorous bat species, as well as their Nycteribiidae flies. Phylogenetic analyses revealed diverse Bartonella genotypes and one main group of Rickettsia, distinct from those previously reported in bats and their ectoparasites, and for some closely related to human pathogens. Our results suggest a differential pattern of host specificity depending on bat species. Bartonella spp. identified in bat flies and blood were identical supporting that bat flies may serve as vectors. Our results represent the first report of bat-borne Bartonella and Rickettsia spp. in these countries and highlight the potential role of bats as reservoirs of human bacterial pathogens.
Project description:Bartonellae are phylogenetically diverse, intracellular bacteria commonly found in mammals. Previous studies have demonstrated that bats have a high prevalence and diversity of Bartonella infections globally. Isolates (n = 42) were obtained from five bat species in four provinces of Thailand and analyzed using sequences of the citrate synthase gene (gltA). Sequences clustered into seven distinct genogroups; four of these genogroups displayed similarity with Bartonella spp. sequences from other bats in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Thirty of the isolates representing these seven genogroups were further characterized by sequencing four additional loci (ftsZ, nuoG, rpoB, and ITS) to clarify their evolutionary relationships with other Bartonella species and to assess patterns of diversity among strains. Among the seven genogroups, there were differences in the number of sequence variants, ranging from 1-5, and the amount of nucleotide divergence, ranging from 0.035-3.9%. Overall, these seven genogroups meet the criteria for distinction as novel Bartonella species, with sequence divergence among genogroups ranging from 6.4-15.8%. Evidence of intra- and intercontinental phylogenetic relationships and instances of homologous recombination among Bartonella genogroups in related bat species were found in Thai bats.
Project description:A plethora of pathogenic viruses colonize bats. However, bat bacterial flora and its zoonotic threat remain ill defined. In a study initially conducted as a quantitative metagenomic analysis of the fecal bacterial flora of the Daubenton's bat in Finland, we unexpectedly detected DNA of several hemotrophic and ectoparasite-transmitted bacterial genera, including Bartonella. Bartonella spp. also were either detected or isolated from the peripheral blood of Daubenton's, northern, and whiskered bats and were detected in the ectoparasites of Daubenton's, northern, and Brandt's bats. The blood isolates belong to the Candidatus-status species B. mayotimonensis, a recently identified etiologic agent of endocarditis in humans, and a new Bartonella species (B. naantaliensis sp. nov.). Phylogenetic analysis of bat-colonizing Bartonella spp. throughout the world demonstrates a distinct B. mayotimonensis cluster in the Northern Hemisphere. The findings of this field study highlight bats as potent reservoirs of human bacterial pathogens.
Project description:Previous and ongoing studies have incriminated bats as reservoirs of several emerging and re-emerging zoonoses. Most of these studies, however, have focused on viral agents and neglected important bacterial pathogens. To date, there has been no report investigating the prevalence of Bartonella spp. in bats and bat flies from Nigeria, despite the fact that bats are used as food and for cultural ritual purposes by some ethnic groups in Nigeria. To elucidate the role of bats as reservoirs of bartonellae, we screened by molecular methods 148 bats and 34 bat flies, Diptera:Hippoboscoidea:Nycteribiidae (Cyclopodia greeffi) from Nigeria for Bartonella spp. Overall, Bartonella spp. DNA was detected in 76 out of 148 (51.4%) bat blood samples tested and 10 out of 24 (41.7%) bat flies tested by qPCR targeting the 16S-23S internal transcribed spacer (ITS) locus. Bartonella was isolated from 23 of 148 (15.5%) bat blood samples, and the isolates were genetically characterized. Prevalence of Bartonella spp. culture-positive samples ranged from 0% to 45.5% among five bat species. Micropterus spp. bats had a significantly higher relative risk of 3.45 for being culture positive compared to Eidolon helvum, Epomophorus spp., Rhinolophus spp., and Chaerephon nigeriae. Bartonella spp. detected in this study fall into three distinct clusters along with other Bartonella spp. isolated from bats and bat flies from Kenya and Ghana, respectively. The isolation of Bartonella spp. in 10.0-45.5% of four out of five bat species screened in this study indicates a widespread infection in bat population in Nigeria. Further investigation is warranted to determine the role of these bacteria as a cause of human and animal diseases in Nigeria.
Project description:Bat-borne virus surveillance is necessary for determining inter-species transmission risks and is important due to the wide-range of bat species which may harbour potential pathogens. This study aimed to monitor coronaviruses (CoVs) and paramyxoviruses (PMVs) in bats roosting in northwest Italian regions. Our investigation was focused on CoVs and PMVs due to their proven ability to switch host and their zoonotic potential. Here we provide the phylogenetic characterization of the highly conserved polymerase gene fragments.Family-wide PCR screenings were used to test 302 bats belonging to 19 different bat species. Thirty-eight animals from 12 locations were confirmed as PCR positive, with an overall detection rate of 12.6% [95% CI: 9.3-16.8]. CoV RNA was found in 36 bats belonging to eight species, while PMV RNA in three Pipistrellus spp. Phylogenetic characterization have been obtained for 15 alpha- CoVs, 5 beta-CoVs and three PMVs; moreover one P. pipistrellus resulted co-infected with both CoV and PMV. A divergent alpha-CoV clade from Myotis nattereri SpA is also described. The compact cluster of beta-CoVs from R. ferrumequinum roosts expands the current viral sequence database, specifically for this species in Europe. To our knowledge this is the first report of CoVs in Plecotus auritus and M. oxygnathus, and of PMVs in P. kuhlii.This study identified alpha and beta-CoVs in new bat species and in previously unsurveyed Italian regions. To our knowledge this represents the first and unique report of PMVs in Italy. The 23 new bat genetic sequences presented will expand the current molecular bat-borne virus databases. Considering the amount of novel bat-borne PMVs associated with the emergence of zoonotic infections in animals and humans in the last years, the definition of viral diversity within European bat species is needed. Performing surveillance studies within a specific geographic area can provide awareness of viral burden where bats roost in close proximity to spillover hosts, and form the basis for the appropriate control measures against potential threats for public health and optimal management of bats and their habitats.
Project description:Bartonella spp. are globally distributed bacteria that cause endocarditis in humans and domestic animals. Recent work has suggested bats as zoonotic reservoirs of some human Bartonella infections; however, the ecological and spatiotemporal patterns of infection in bats remain largely unknown. Here we studied the genetic diversity, prevalence of infection across seasons and years, individual risk factors, and possible transmission routes of Bartonella in populations of common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) in Peru and Belize, for which high infection prevalence has previously been reported. Phylogenetic analysis of the gltA gene for a subset of PCR-positive blood samples revealed sequences that were related to Bartonella described from vampire bats from Mexico, other Neotropical bat species, and streblid bat flies. Sequences associated with vampire bats clustered significantly by country but commonly spanned Central and South America, implying limited spatial structure. Stable and nonzero Bartonella prevalence between years supported endemic transmission in all sites. The odds of Bartonella infection for individual bats was unrelated to the intensity of bat flies ectoparasitism, but nearly all infected bats were infested, which precluded conclusive assessment of support for vector-borne transmission. While metagenomic sequencing found no strong evidence of Bartonella DNA in pooled bat saliva and fecal samples, we detected PCR positivity in individual saliva and feces, suggesting the potential for bacterial transmission through both direct contact (i.e., biting) and environmental (i.e., fecal) exposures. Further investigating the relative contributions of direct contact, environmental, and vector-borne transmission for bat Bartonella is an important next step to predict infection dynamics within bats and the risks of human and livestock exposures.
Project description:The relationship among bats, ectoparasites and associated microorganisms is important to investigate how humans can become exposed to zoonotic agents. Even though the diversity of <i>Bartonella</i> spp. in bats and ectoparasites has been previously reported, the occurrence of <i>gltA</i> genotypes within hosts has not been assessed so far. We aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of <i>Bartonella</i> spp. in non-hematophagous bats and associated ectoparasites by assessing cloned <i>gltA Bartonella</i> genotypes in intra- and inter-hosts levels, as well as by using three additional molecular markers. Overall, 13.5% (18/133) bat blood samples, 17.18% bat flies (11/64) and 23.8% (5/21) Macronyssidae mite pools showed to be positive for <i>Bartonella</i> spp. Seventeen positive samples were submitted to <i>gltA-</i>cloning and three clones were sequenced for each sample. We also obtained 11, seven and three sequences for <i>nuoG</i>, <i>rpoB</i> and <i>ftsZ</i> genes, respectively. None were positive for the other target genes. We found at least two genotypes among the three <i>gltA</i>-cloned sequences from each sample, and 13 between all the 51 sequences. Among the <i>nuoG</i>, <i>rpoB</i> and <i>ftsZ</i> sequences we found eight, five and three genotypes, respectively. In the phylogenetic analysis, the sequences were positioned mainly in groups related to <i>Bartonella</i> identified in rodents, bats and bat flies. Herein, we showed the genetic diversity of <i>Bartonella</i> in bat's blood and associated ectoparasites samples at both intra- and inter-host levels.