Experimental infection by capillary tube feeding of Rhipicephalus sanguineus with Bartonella vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii

Sarah A. Billeter, Rick W. Kasten, Lindsay F. Killmaster, Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Michael L. Levin, Michael G. Levy, Michael Y. Kosoy, Bruno B Chomel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


It has been speculated that ticks may serve as vectors of Bartonella species. Circumstantial, clinical, epidemiological and serological evidence suggest that B. vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii (B. v. berkhoffii) might be transmitted by Rhipicephalus sanguineus. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether adult R. sanguineus ticks can be infected with a B. v. berkhoffii genotype II isolate via capillary tube feeding and whether the infection can then be transmitted from adult females to their eggs via trans-ovarial transmission. Furthermore, tick fecal material was also collected and screened as a possible source of infectious inoculum for canine infections. B. v. berkhoffii DNA was detected in 50% (7 of 14) of females that did not oviposit and in 14.3% (2 of 14) of female ticks that laid eggs, but not detected in egg clutches (100 eggs/female). DNA was also detected in tick feces collected on days 2 through 6 post-capillary tube feeding, however, dogs ( n= 3) did not become bacteremic or seroconvert when inoculated with tick fecal material. Therefore, trans-ovarial transmission of B. v. berkhoffii by R. sanguineus is unlikely, but further studies are needed to determine if tick fecal material can serve as a source of infection to canines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Artificial infection
  • Bartonella vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • veterinary(all)


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