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Low prevalence of Bartonella henselae infections in Norwegian domestic and feral cats

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Bartonella henselae is the causative agent of cat scratch disease (CSD). This clinical entity is very rarely encountered in human medical practice in Norway. B. henselae infections including bacteraemia in cats have been frequently reported. The objective of the present study was to investigate the seroprevalence rate and the degree of B. henselae bacteraemia in Norwegian domestic and feral cats. One hundred cats investigated at a small animal veterinary practice in the middle of Norway were included in the study. Blood collected in Isolator blood-lysis tubes and lysates of erythrocytes after freezing and thawing were cultured. PCR analysis of whole blood was also performed. Serology was performed by indirect fluorescence assay (IFA) and enzyme immunoassay (EIA) using immobilised B. henselae Houston-1 strain as antigen. None of the 100 cats investigated was found to be bacteraemic. All 100 cats were seronegative when analysed by IFA; one cat was positive by EIA. The discrepancy between IFA and EIA of this particular cat is probably due to cross-reactive antibodies. Contrary to findings reported from several geographic regions, B. henselae infections in Norwegian cats appear to be virtually absent. This in turn may explain why CSD has not been reported in human medical practice in Norway.
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Keywords: Bartonella henselae; Norway; bacteraemia; cat scratch disease (CSD); cats; seroprevalence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Strinda Small Animal Clinic, Trondheim, Norway 2: Department of Laboratory Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology,

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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