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Bartonella in Cats – An Underestimated Zoonotic Risk?

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Vol 6 - Issue 3
Written by Ian Wright BVMS BSc MSc MRCVS
Categories: ,

Bartonella in Cats - An Underestimated Zoonotic Risk?

Bartonella spp. infections are common in domestic cats and transmission is thought

to arise primarily from infected fleas. Bartonellosis is a zoonotic disease with a

variety of clinical presentations in humans that range from mild signs to severe

disease, which may be fatal, in immunocompromised people. There is potential for

widespread exposure in the UK pet owning population. The main route of zoonotic

infections was traditionally thought to be via cat bites and scratches and, although

human infection can and does occur this way, exposure to flea dirt through a variety

of other routes is likely to play a more important role. This is especially true among

veterinary professionals and those living with flea household infestations. This article

discusses Bartonella infection in domestic cats, human bartonellosis and measures

that can be taken to limit zoonotic risk while maintaining the human-animal bond.

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