Although cats and their arthropod parasites can sometimes be important sources of zoonotic diseases in humans, the extent of exposure among various cat populations to many potential zoonotic agents remains incompletely described. In this study, 170 domestic cats living in private homes, feral cat colonies, and animal shelters from California and Wisconsin were evaluated by serology to determine the levels of exposure to a group of zoonotic vector-borne pathogens. Serological positive test results were observed in 17.2% of cats for Rickettsia rickettsii, 14.9% for R akari, 4.9% for R typhi, 11.1% for R felis, and 14.7% for Bartonella henselae. Although vector-borne disease exposure has been documented previously in cats, the evaluation of multiple pathogens and diverse cat populations simultaneously performed here contributes to our understanding of feline exposure to these zoonotic pathogens.
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