Souza, U. A., Webster, A., Dall’Agnol, B., Morel, A. P., Peters, F. B., Favarini, M. O., Mazim, F. D., Soares, J. B. G., Tirelli, F. P., Tortato, M. A., de Lemos, E. R. S., Trigo, T. C., Soares, J. F., & Reck, J. (2021). Molecular and Serological Survey of the Cat-Scratch Disease Agent (Bartonella henselae) in Free-Ranging Leopardus geoffroyi and Leopardus wiedii (Carnivora: Felidae) From Pampa Biome, Brazil. Microbial Ecology, 81(2), 483–492.
The genus Bartonella comprises emerging bacteria that affect humans and other mammals worldwide. Felids represent an important reservoir for several Bartonella species. Domestic cats are the main reservoir of Bartonella henselae, the agent of cat scratch disease (CSD). It can be transmitted directly by scratches and bites from infected cats and via cat fleas. This study aims to investigate the circulation of Bartonella spp. in free-ranging Neotropical wild felids from Southern Brazil using serological and molecular methods. In this study, 53 live-trapped free-ranging wild felids were sampled, 39 Leopardus geoffroyi and 14 Leopardus wiedii, from five municipalities in the Rio Grande, do Sul state, southern Brazil. All captured animals were clinically healthy. Two blood samples of L. geoffroyi were positive, by PCR, for the presence of B. henselae DNA. Conversely, none of L. wiedii blood samples were positive when tested using PCR. Indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) showed that 28% of serum samples of wild felids were reactive (seropositive) for B. henselae by immunofluorescence, with titers ranging from 64 to 256. The results presented here provide the first evidence of a Bartonella-enzootic cycle involving L. geoffroyi and L. wiedii, which may account for the spillover of the emerging zoonotic pathogen B. henselae for the indigenous fauna in Southern Brazil.