Bartonella henselae and the potential for arthropod vector-borne transmission

Mark E. Mosbacher, Stephen Klotz, John Klotz, Jacob L. Pinnas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Introduction: Bartonella henselae, the causative agent of the illness referred to as cat scratch disease, is a common infection, particularly in children, and clinicians need to be aware of its potential transmission to humans by arthropod vectors such as fleas and ticks in addition to animal bites and scratches. The absence of a vertebrate bite or scratch does not preclude infection with B. henselae. Materials and Methods: Literature regarding arthropod transmission of B. henselae was reviewed. Results: B. henselae appears to be transmitted among cats and dogs in vivo exclusively by arthropod vectors (excepting perinatal transmission), not by biting and scratching. In the absence of these vectors disease does not spread. On the other hand, disease can be spread to humans by bites and scratches, and it is highly likely that it is spread as well by arthropod vectors. Discussion: Clinicians should be aware that a common illness, infection with B. henselae, can be transmitted by arthropod vectors and a history of an animal scratch or bite is not necessary for disease transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Bartonella
  • Domestic Animals
  • Tick(s)
  • Transmission
  • Vector-borne

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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