PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 May 22;9(5):e0003789. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003789. eCollection 2015.
Competence of Cimex lectularius Bed Bugs for the Transmission of Bartonella quintana, the Agent of Trench Fever.
- 1Aix Marseille Université, Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes (URMITE), UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198 (Dakar), Inserm 1095, World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborative Center for Rickettsioses and Other Arthropod-Borne Bacterial Diseases, Marseille, France; Ecole Nationale Supérieure Vétérinaire d'Alger, Alger, Algérie.
- 2Ecole Nationale Supérieure Vétérinaire d'Alger, Alger, Algérie; Université de Boumerdes,
- Laboratoire VALCORE, Faculté des Sciences, Boumerdes, Algérie; Université de Bab Ezzouar, Laboratoire d'Ecologie et Environnement, Alger, Algérie.
- 3Aix Marseille Université, Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes (URMITE), UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198 (Dakar), Inserm 1095, World Health Organization
- (WHO) Collaborative Center for Rickettsioses and Other Arthropod-Borne Bacterial Diseases, Marseille, France.
Bartonella quintana, the etiologic agent of trench fever and other
human diseases, is transmitted by the feces of body lice. Recently, this bacterium has been
detected in other arthropod families such as bed bugs, which begs the question of their
involvement in B. quintana transmission.
Although several infectious pathogens have been reported and are suggested to be transmitted by bed bugs, the evidence regarding their competence as vectors is unclear.
Bed bugs at the adult and instar developmental
stages were fed three successive human blood meals inoculated with B. quintana bacterium
from day one (D1) to D5; subsequently they were fed with pathogen-free human blood until
the end of the experiment.
Bed bugs and feces were collected in time series, to evaluate their capacities to acquire, multiply and expel viable B. quintana using molecular biology, immunohistochemistry and cultures assays.
B. quintana was detected molecularly in 100% of randomly selected experimentally infected bed bug specimens (D3).
The monitoring of B. quintana in bed bug feces showed that the bacterium was detectable starting on the 3rd day post-infection (pi) and persisted until day 18±1 pi. Although immunohistochemistry assays
localized the bacteria to the gastrointestinal bed bug gut, the detection of B. quintana in the first
and second instar larva stages suggested a vertical non-transovarial transmission of the
The present work demonstrated for the first time that bed bugs can acquire,
maintain for more than 2 weeks and release viable B. quintana organisms following a
stercorarial shedding. We also observed the vertical transmission of the bacterium to their
progeny. Although the biological role of bed bugs in the transmission of B. quintana under
natural conditions has yet to be confirmed, the present work highlights the need to
reconsider monitoring of these arthropods for the transmission of human pathogens.
PMID: 26000974 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC4441494 Free PMC Article
Saenz VL, Maggi RG, Breitschwerdt EB, Kim J, Vargo EL, Schal C.
PLoS One. 2013 Sep 9;8(9):e73661. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073661. eCollection 2013.
PMID: 24040015 Free PMC Article
Angelakis E, Socolovschi C, Raoult D.
Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Nov;89(5):986-7. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.13-0182. Epub 2013 Sep 9. No abstract available.
PMID: 24019440 Free PMC Article
Brouqui P, Raoult D.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Oct;1078:223-35. Review.
Noguchi H, Shannon RC, Tilden EB, Tyler JR.
J Exp Med. 1929 May 31;49(6):993-1008.
PMID: 19869598 Free PMC Article