Date of this Version
Bartonella infections are common in rodents. From 1994 to 2006, longitudinal studies of a rodent community, consisting mainly of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), were conducted in southwestern Colorado to study hantaviruses. Blood samples from deer mice captured one or more times during the period 2003 to 2006 (n = 737) were selected to study bartonellae in deer mice. Bartonellae were found to be widely distributed in that population, with an overall prevalence of 82.4% (607/737 mice). No correlation was found between bartonella prevalence and deer mouse weight or sex. Persistent or successive infections with bartonellae were observed in deer mice captured repeatedly, with a prevalence of 83.9% (297/354), and the infection appeared to last for more than 1 year in some of them. Persistent infection with bartonellae may explain the high prevalence of these bacteria in deer mice at this site and, perhaps, elsewhere. Genetic analysis demonstrated that deer mouse-borne bartonella isolates at this site belong to the same species, B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis, demonstrating a specific relationship between B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis and deer mice.