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Open Access Research article

Seroprevalence of Bartonella in Eastern China and analysis of risk factors

Jimin Sun12, Guiming Fu2, Junfen Lin2, Xiuping Song1, Liang Lu1 and Qiyong Liu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Vector Biology and Control,State Key Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206, China

2 Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hangzhou 310051, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:121  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-121

Published: 20 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Bartonella infections are emerging in the Zhejiang Province of China. However, there has been no effort to date to explore the epidemiology of these infections in this region, nor to identify risk factors associated with exposure to Bartonella. The aim of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence of Bartonella in both patients bitten by dogs and blood donors (for control) in Eastern China, and to identify risk factors associated with exposure to Bartonella. As no previous data for this region have been published, this study will provide baseline data useful for Bartonella infection surveillance, control, and prevention.

Methods

Blood samples were collected from industrial rabies clinic attendees and blood donors living in eight areas of the Zhejiang Province of China, between December 2005 and November 2006. An indirect immunofluorescent antibody test was used to determine the presence of Bartonella in these samples. Risk factors associated with Bartonella exposure were explored using Chi-square tests and logistic regression analysis of epidemiological data relating to the study's participants.

Results

Bartonella antibodies were detected in 19.60% (109/556) of blood samples. Seroprevalence varied among the eight areas surveys, ranging from over 32% in Hangzhou to only 2% in Jiangshan (X2 = 28.22, P < 0.001). We detected a significantly higher prevalence of Bartonella antibodies in people who had been bitten by dogs than in blood donors (X2 = 13.86, P < 0.001). Seroprevalence of Bartonella was similar among males (18.61%, n = 317) and females (20.92%, n = 239).

Conclusions

Bartonella antibodies were encountered in people living across Zhejiang Province and the seropositivity rate among those exposed to dog bites was significantly higher than that among blood donors, indicating that dog bites may be a risk factor for Bartonella infection.