Bartonella spp. are intra-erythrocytic pathogens of mammals. In this study, we investigated the role of the spleen, and other tissue and organs in Bartonella infection. Using an in vivo model of mice infection by Bartonella birtlesii, we detected accumulation of bacteria in the spleen, with transient infection of the liver, but failed to detect any bacteria in brain or lymph nodes. We then compared bacteraemia in normal Balb/C mice and in splenectomized mice. Bacteraemia in splenectomized mice was 10-fold higher than in normal mice and lasted 2 weeks longer. In conclusion, the spleen seems to retain and filter infected erythrocytes rather than to be a sanctuary for chronic Bartonella infection.