Rochalimaea henselae Infection:  A New Zoonosis With the Domestic Cat as Reservoir

Jane E. Koehler, MA, MD; Carol A. Glaser, DVM, MD; Jordan W. Tappero, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1994;271(7):531-535. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510310061039.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Objective.  —To determine the reservoir and vector(s) for Rochalimaea henselae, a causative agent of bacillary angiomatosis (BA) and cat scratch disease, and to estimate the percentage of domestic cats with R henselae bacteremia in the Greater San Francisco Bay Region of Northern California.

Design.  —Hospital-based survey of patients diagnosed with BA who also had significant exposure to at least one pet cat, as well as a convenience sampling of pet or impounded cats for prevalence of Rochalimaea bacteremia.

Setting.  —Community and university hospitals and clinics; veterinary clinics treating privately owned or impounded cats.

Patients.  —Patients with or without human immunodeficiency virus infection, with biopsy-confirmed BA, who had prolonged exposure to pet cats prior to developing BA.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Cultures and laboratory studies were performed on blood drawn from pet cats associated with patients with BA. The Rochalimaea species infecting pet cats and fleas and causing the BA lesions in human contacts of these cats was identified by culture, polymerase chain reaction—restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, and DNA sequencing. The presence of R henselae bacteremia in pet cats was documented, and predictor variables for culture positivity were evaluated.

Results.  —Four patients diagnosed with BA who had prolonged contact with seven pet cats were identified. The Rochalimaea species causing BA lesions in these patients was determined to be R henselae. The seven pet cats were found to be bacteremic with R henselae; this bacterium was also detected in fleas taken from an infected cat by both direct culture and polymerase chain reaction. Blood samples were cultured from pet and impounded cats (N=61) in the Greater San Francisco Bay Region, and R henselae was isolated from 41% (25/61) of these cats.

Conclusion.  —We have documented that the domestic cat serves as a major persistent reservoir for R henselae, with prolonged, asymptomatic bacteremia from which humans, especially the immunocompromised, may acquire potentially serious infections. Antibiotic treatment of infected cats and control of flea infestation are potential strategies for decreasing human exposure to R henselae.(JAMA. 1994;271:531-535)


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.