Borrelia persica infection in cats (and dogs)

Baneth G, Nachum-Biala Y, et al. Borrelia persica infection in dogs and cats: clinical manifestations, clinicopathological findings and genetic characterization. Parasit Vectors.
2016 May 10;9(1):244.

Relapsing fever (RF) is an acute infectious disease caused by arthropod-borne spirochetes of the genus Borrelia. The disease is characterized by recurrent episodes of fever that concur with spirochetemia. The RF borrelioses include louse-borne RF caused by Borrelia recurrentis and tick-borne endemic RF transmitted by argasid soft ticks and caused by several Borrelia spp. Human infection with B. persica is transmitted by the soft tick Ornithodoros tholozani and has been reported from Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, and Central Asia. During 2003–2015, five cats and five dogs from northern, central and southern Israel were presented for veterinary care and detected with borrelia spirochetemia by blood smear microscopy. The causative infective agent in these animals was identified and characterized.

All animals were infected with B. persica genetically identical to the causative agent of human RF. The main clinical findings in cats included lethargy, anorexia, anemia in 5/5 cats and thrombocytopenia in 4/5. All dogs were lethargic and anorectic, 4/5 were febrile and anemic and 3/5 were thrombocytopenic.

This is the first report of disease due to B. persica infection in cats and the first case series in dogs. Infection was associated with anemia and thrombocytopenia. Fever was more frequently observed in dogs than cats. Domestic canines and felines suffer from clinical disease due to B. persica infection and may also serve as sentinels for human infection.  (MK)

See also:
Assous MV. Wilamowski A. Relapsing fever borreliosis in Eurasia — forgotten, but certainly not gone! Clin Microb Infect. 2009 May;15(5):407-14.