Effects of cow age and pregnancy on Bartonella infection in a herd of dairy cattle

R. Maillard, B. Grimard, S. Chastant-Maillard, Bruno B Chomel, T. Delcroix, C. Gandoin, C. Bouillin, L. Halos, M. Vayssier-Taussat, H. J. Boulouis

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32 Scopus citations


Bartonella spp. are small hemotropic bacteria infecting mammals. Four Bartonella species have been recently described in cattle and wild ruminants. To date, the biology and possible pathogenic role of Bartonella species isolated from ruminants are poorly understood. Therefore, a dairy herd of 448 cows and heifers was surveyed in order to establish the prevalence of Bartonella bovis and B. chomelii infections, the level of bacteremia, and the relationship between bacteremia and age or pregnancy status. The putative impact of Bartonella infection on production performance (individual milk cell count, milk yield) and reproductive status (success of artificial insemination [AI], placental retention, embryonic death, and abortion) was also assessed. The overall mean prevalence of B. bovis bacteremia was 59%, with the highest prevalence in heifers (92.5%). No B. chomelii was isolated, and 95% (114/120) of the B. bovis strains isolated and tested by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism belonged to type I. The level of bacteremia was higher in pregnant cows than in nonpregnant cows (P = 0.05), and the level of bacteremia rose during the last two-thirds of gestation (P < 0.001). There was no correlation between bacteremia and milk yield, individual milk cell count, success of first AI, interval between two calvings, or incidence of abortion and embryonic death. The interval from calving to first AI was shorter and the incidence of placental retention was lower in bacteremic animals than in nonbacteremic ones (P = 0.03 and P = 0.01, respectively).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


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