Seroprevalence of Bartonella Species in Patients with Ocular Inflammation
Bartonella species, vector-borne etiologic agents of many systemic or self-limited infections, are responsible for a widening spectrum of diseases in humans, including inflammatory conditions of the eye. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is any relationship between uveitis and the evidence of Bartonella spp. infection in the serum, ocular fluid, and cataract mass in patients with intraocular inflammation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based tests and DNA sequencing were performed on surgery-extracted specimens of intraocular fluid and lens mass of 33 patients. Sera from 51 patients and 101 control subjects were tested for the presence of specific antibodies against Bartonella spp. Neither IgM-class antibodies against Bartonella spp. nor Bartonella spp. DNA were detected. A specific IgG-class antibody was found in 33.3% of the patients with uveitis. The rate of positive Bartonella serology was higher among the uveitis patients than that in control subjects. This high rate may in part result from unrecognized indirect mechanisms rather than the immediate presence and multiplication of Bartonella spp. in the eyeball. Nonetheless we believe that screening for Bartonella spp. should become part of the diagnostic workup in uveitis.
KeywordsBartonella spp. Polymerase chain reaction Retinitis Serology Seroprevalence Uveitis Vector-borne pathogens Zoonosis
The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of NIPH-NIH in Warsaw for support of serology tests and PCR.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.
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