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Prevalence of Vector-Borne Pathogens in Reproductive and Non-Reproductive Tissue Samples from Free-Roaming Domestic Cats in the South Atlantic USA.

Authors
  • Manvell, Charlotte1
  • Ferris, Kelli2
  • Maggi, Ricardo1, 2
  • Breitschwerdt, Edward B1, 2
  • Lashnits, Erin1, 3
  • 1 Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Comparative Medicine Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.
  • 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.
  • 3 Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland)
Publication Date
Sep 21, 2021
Volume
10
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/pathogens10091221
PMID: 34578253
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Reservoir to multiple species of zoonotic pathogens, free-roaming cats (FRCs) interact with domestic and wild animals, vectors, and humans. To assess the potential for feline vector-borne pathogens to be vertically transmitted, this study surveyed ear tip and reproductive tissues of FRCs from two locations in the South Atlantic United States for Anaplasma, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, hemotropic Mycoplasma, and Rickettsia species. We collected ovary (n = 72), uterus (n = 54), testicle (n = 74), and ear tip (n = 73) tissue from 73 cats, and fetal (n = 20) and placental (n = 19) tissue from 11 queens. Pathogen DNA was amplified utilizing qPCR, confirmed by sequencing. Cats were more frequently Bartonella henselae positive on reproductive tissues (19%, 14/73) than ear tip (5%, 4/73; p = 0.02). B. henselae was amplified from fetus (20%, 4/20) and placenta samples (11%, 2/19). Bartonella spp. infection was more common in cats from North Carolina (76%, 26/34) than Virginia (13%, 5/39; p < 0.0001). Fourteen percent (10/73) of both ear tip and reproductive tissues were positive for hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia spp. DNA was not amplified from any cat/tissue. These findings suggest that B. henselae preferentially infected cats' reproductive tissue and reinforces the importance of investigating the potential for B. henselae vertical transmission or induction of reproductive failure.

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