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Vector-borne parasites and pathogens in South African bats

This video abstract is part of theNeglected Bacterial Diseases Special Issue published in Medical and Veterinary Entomology in May 2023. Read the full article, free for a limited time here.

This study explores the diversity and occurrence of bat-associated vector-borne pathogens and parasites in bats collected in South Africa. The target species was Egyptian Rousette bat, and their highly specific ectoparasites, including bat flies and fleas. During this work, the authors molecularly tested the presence of Bartonella spp., Polychromophilus spp., and Trypanosoma spp. in these ectoparasites, using conventional PCR. A high prevalence of 43.9% (47/107) of Bartonella spp. were found in bat flies, and a lower prevalence of 6.6% (4/61) in bat fleas. Polychromophilus and Trypanosoma DNA were absent in both bat flies and bat fleas. Novel gltA Bartonella sequences were found during this work, as well as genotypes that were highly similar to potentially zoonotic genotypes.

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