Bartonella Infection in Stray Dogs from Central and Southern Chile (Linares and Puerto Montt)

Bartonellae are emerging zoonotic vector-borne pathogens causing a broad spectrum of clinical symptoms in humans and animals, including life-threatening endocarditis. Dogs are infected with a wide range of Bartonella species and infection has been reported in free-roaming dogs from various South American countries. We report a high Bartonella seroprevalence in 82 Chilean stray dogs. More than half of the dogs from Linares (72.7%, n = 66) and Puerto Montt (56.2%, n = 16) were seropositive for Bartonella henselae, Bartonella vinsonii ssp. berkhoffii, or Bartonella clarridgeiae with antibody titers ranging from 1:64 to 1:512. Three dogs (3.6%) were PCR positive for Bartonella sp. Partial sequencing of the gltA gene indicated that two dogs were infected with B. henselae, and one with a strain close to Bartonella vinsonii ssp. vinsonii. Exposure to Bartonella species was common in stray Chilean dogs, as for other South American countries, likely associated with heavy ectoparasite infestation.
Bartonella, serology, PCR, dogs, Chile