Bartonellae are fastidious, facultative, intracellular vector-borne bacteria distributed among mammalian reservoirs worldwide. The pathogenic potential of many Bartonella spp. has increased the interest in these bacteria and advanced their research. Isolation of Bartonella spp. is laborious using classical bacteriological methods and requires specific conditions and prolonged incubation periods. In contrast, molecular methods for detection of Bartonella DNA are considered as more practical and sensitive than the former. Among the molecular methods, the use of real-time PCR assays for primary screening of Bartonella spp., followed by several molecular confirmatory assays, using either conventional or real-time PCR, is recommended. Although primary isolation of Bartonella is a laborious task, we encourage its application to all PCR-positive samples as this is the most reliable proof for the presence of live bacteria. Moreover, a successful trial will enable a broader molecular characterization and speciation of isolated colonies. The present guideline gathers and summarizes recommendations, including advantages and limitations of isolation and molecular detection of Bartonella from mammalian and arthropod samples.
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Acknowledgments This study was supported by TD1303 COST Action entitled, European Network for Neglected Vectors and Vector- Borne Infections (EurNegVec), and by the Israel Science Foundation (grant number 30/11 to Shimon Harrus).
© 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.