First detection of Bartonella spp. in bat bugs Cimex pipistrelli (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), Central Europe
Bats are an important reservoir for many viral pathogens in humans. However, their role in the transmission of bacterial pathogens is neglected, as is that of their ectoparasites. This study focuses on the molecular detection of Bartonella spp. in bat bugs Cimex pipistrelli using partial sequences of gltA (citrate synthase), ssrA (transfer messenger RNA, tmRNA), and the 16S-23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region as targets. Bartonella DNA was detected in 2/112 (1.79% prevalence) samples from bat bugs. Due to the fact that bat bugs can sporadically bite humans, more extensive surveillance and vector competence studies are needed to ascertain zoonotic risk of bat-associated Bartonella spp.