Diagnosis of Carrion's disease by direct blood PCR in thin blood smear negative samples

Juana Del Valle Mendoza, Wilmer Silva Caso, Carmen Tinco Valdez, Maria J. Pons, Luis J. Del Valle, Verónica Casabona Oré, Denisse Champin Michelena, Jorge Bazán Mayra, Víctor Zavaleta Gavidea, Martha Vargas, Joaquim Ruiz

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Bartonella bacilliformis is the etiologic agent of Carrion's disease. This disease has two well established phases, the most relevant being the so called Oroya Fever, in which B. bacilliformis infect the erythrocytes resulting in severe anemia and transient immunosuppression, with a high lethality in the absence of adequate antibiotic treatment. The presence f B. bacilliformis was studied in 113 blood samples suspected of Carrion's disease based on clinical criteria, despite the absence of a positive thin blood smear, by two different PCR techniques (using Bartonella-specific and universal 16S rRNA gene primers), and by bacterial culture. The specific 16S rRNA gene primers revealed the presence of 21 B. bacilliformis and 1 Bartonella elizabethae, while universal primers showed both the presence of 3 coinfections in which a concomitant pathogen was detected plus Bartonella, in addition to the presence of infections by other microorganisms such as Agrobacterium or Bacillus firmus. These data support the need to implement molecular tools to diagnose Carrion's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92283
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2014


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