Author(s): Pitassi LH, de Paiva Diniz PP, Scorpio DG, Drummond MR, Lania BG,
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Abstract Bartonella species are blood-borne, re-emerging organisms, capable of causing prolonged infection with diverse disease manifestations, from asymptomatic bacteremia to chronic debilitating disease and death. This pathogen can survive for over a month in stored blood. However, its prevalence among blood donors is unknown, and screening of blood supplies for this pathogen is not routinely performed. We investigated Bartonella spp. prevalence in 500 blood donors from Campinas, Brazil, based on a cross-sectional design. Blood samples were inoculated into an enrichment liquid growth medium and sub-inoculated onto blood agar. Liquid culture samples and Gram-negative isolates were tested using a genus specific ITS PCR with amplicons sequenced for species identification. Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana antibodies were assayed by indirect immunofluorescence. B. henselae was isolated from six donors (1.2\%). Sixteen donors (3.2\%) were Bartonella-PCR positive after culture in liquid or on solid media, with 15 donors infected with B. henselae and one donor infected with Bartonella clarridgeiae. Antibodies against B. henselae or B. quintana were found in 16\% and 32\% of 500 blood donors, respectively. Serology was not associated with infection, with only three of 16 Bartonella-infected subjects seropositive for B. henselae or B. quintana. Bartonella DNA was present in the bloodstream of approximately one out of 30 donors from a major blood bank in South America. Negative serology does not rule out Bartonella spp. infection in healthy subjects. Using a combination of liquid and solid cultures, PCR, and DNA sequencing, this study documents for the first time that Bartonella spp. bacteremia occurs in asymptomatic blood donors. Our findings support further evaluation of Bartonella spp. transmission which can occur through blood transfusions.
This article was published in PLoS Negl Trop Dis
and referenced in Journal of Tropical Diseases & Public Health