More than 500 small mammals were trapped at 3 localities in northern Ethiopia to investigate Bartonella infection prevalence and the genetic diversity of the Bartonella spp. We extracted total DNA from liver samples and performed PCR using the primers 1400F and 2300R targeting 852 bp of the Bartonella RNA polymerase beta subunit (rpoB) gene. We used a generalized linear mixed model to relate the probability of Bartonella infection to species, season, locality, habitat, sex, sexual condition, weight, and ectoparasite infestation. Overall, Bartonella infection prevalence among the small mammals was 34.0%. The probability of Bartonella infection varied significantly with species, sex, sexual condition, and some locality, but not with season, elevation, habitat type, animal weight, and ectoparasite infestation. In total, we found 18 unique Bartonella genotypes clustered into 5 clades, 1 clade exclusively Ethiopian, 2 clades clustered with genotypes from central and eastern Africa, and the remaining 2 clades clustered with genotypes and species from Africa and Asia. The close relatedness of several of our Bartonella genotypes obtained from the 3 dominant rodent species in Tigray with the pathogenic Bartonella elizabethae from Rattus spp. in Asia indicates a potential public health threat.
Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 2013, Vol 13, Issue 3, p. 164-175
Bartonella; Prevalence; Genotypes; Small mammals; Ethiopia