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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases