Bartonella species in bats (Chiroptera) and bat flies (Nycteribiidae) from Nigeria, West Africa

Joshua Kamani*, Gad Baneth, Mark Mitchell, Kosta Y. Mumcuoglu, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Shimon Harrus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Previous and ongoing studies have incriminated bats as reservoirs of several emerging and re-emerging zoonoses. Most of these studies, however, have focused on viral agents and neglected important bacterial pathogens. To date, there has been no report investigating the prevalence of Bartonella spp. in bats and bat flies from Nigeria, despite the fact that bats are used as food and for cultural ritual purposes by some ethnic groups in Nigeria. To elucidate the role of bats as reservoirs of bartonellae, we screened by molecular methods 148 bats and 34 bat flies, Diptera:Hippoboscoidea:Nycteribiidae (Cyclopodia greeffi) from Nigeria for Bartonella spp. Overall, Bartonella spp. DNA was detected in 76 out of 148 (51.4%) bat blood samples tested and 10 out of 24 (41.7%) bat flies tested by qPCR targeting the 16S-23S internal transcribed spacer (ITS) locus. Bartonella was isolated from 23 of 148 (15.5%) bat blood samples, and the isolates were genetically characterized. Prevalence of Bartonella spp. culture-positive samples ranged from 0% to 45.5% among five bat species. Micropterus spp. bats had a significantly higher relative risk of 3.45 for being culture positive compared to Eidolon helvum, Epomophorus spp., Rhinolophus spp., and Chaerephon nigeriae. Bartonella spp. detected in this study fall into three distinct clusters along with other Bartonella spp. isolated from bats and bat flies from Kenya and Ghana, respectively. The isolation of Bartonella spp. in 10.0-45.5% of four out of five bat species screened in this study indicates a widespread infection in bat population in Nigeria. Further investigation is warranted to determine the role of these bacteria as a cause of human and animal diseases in Nigeria.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)625-632
Number of pages8
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.


  • Bartonella
  • Bats
  • Flies
  • Reservoir host
  • Vector


Dive into the research topics of 'Bartonella species in bats (Chiroptera) and bat flies (Nycteribiidae) from Nigeria, West Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this