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Bartonella species in bat flies (Diptera: Nycteribiidae) from western Africa

  • S. A. BILLETER (a1), D. T. S. HAYMAN (a2) (a3) (a4), A. J. PEEL (a3) (a4), K. BAKER (a3) (a4), J. L. N. WOOD (a3), A. CUNNINGHAM (a4), R. SUU-IRE (a5), K. DITTMAR (a6) and M. Y. KOSOY (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 06 February 2012

Bat flies are obligate ectoparasites of bats and it has been hypothesized that they may be involved in the transmission of Bartonella species between bats. A survey was conducted to identify whether Cyclopodia greefi greefi (Diptera: Nycteribiidae) collected from Ghana and 2 islands in the Gulf of Guinea harbour Bartonella. In total, 137 adult flies removed from Eidolon helvum, the straw-coloured fruit bat, were screened for the presence of Bartonella by culture and PCR analysis. Bartonella DNA was detected in 91 (66·4%) of the specimens examined and 1 strain of a Bartonella sp., initially identified in E. helvum blood from Kenya, was obtained from a bat fly collected in Ghana. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to report the identification and isolation of Bartonella in bat flies from western Africa.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Vector Borne Diseases, 3150 Rampart Road, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA. Tel: +970 266 3522. Fax: +970 225 4257. E-mail:
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