Altitude-dependent Bartonella quintana Genotype C in Head Lice, Ethiopia - Vol. 17 No. 12 - December 2011 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 17, Number 12—December 2011
Altitude-dependent Bartonella quintana Genotype C in Head Lice, Ethiopia
Head (Pediculus humanus capitis de Geer) and body lice (Pediculus humanus humanus Linnaeus) have been parasites of humans for thousands of years (1). Genetic studies based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have found 3 phylotypes of P. humanus (2,3). Clade A is the most common genotype with worldwide distribution and is found among both head and body lice. Clade B comprises only head lice and has been found in South America, Europe, and Australia, whereas clade C comprises only head lice from Ethiopia and Nepal (2,4,5). Only body lice have been implicated as vectors of Bartonella quintana, which causes trench fever, bacillary angiomatosis, endocarditis, chronic bacteremia, and chronic lymphadenopathy (6). However, B. quintana has been identified in head lice from homeless children in Nepal (7), in head lice from homeless adults in San Francisco, California, USA (8), and recently in head lice nits from a homeless man in Marseille, France (9). The objective of our study was to use molecular methods to determine the presence of B. quintana infection in head and body lice collected from patients in different locations in Ethiopia, a country where epidemiologic and clinical studies of zoonoses are scarce and a widespread louse infestation exists (6). Moreover, we assessed whether a phylogenetic difference existed between head and body lice collected from the same patient.
AbstractTo determine the presence of Bartonella quintana in head and body lice from persons in different locations in Ethiopia, we used molecular methods. B. quintana was found in 19 (7%) genotype C head lice and in 76 (18%) genotype A body lice. B. quintana in head lice was positively linked to altitude (p = 0.014).
Suggested citation for this article: Angelakis E, Diatta G, Abdissa A, Trape J-F, Mediannikov O, Hervé Richet H, et al. Altitude-dependent Bartonella quintana genotype C in head lice, Ethiopia. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2011 Dec [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1712.110453