Assessing Cat Flea Microbiomes in Northern and Southern California by 16S rRNA Next-Generation Sequencing.
Vasconcelos EJR, et al. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2018.
Flea-borne diseases (FBDs) impact both human and animal health worldwide. Because adult fleas are obligately hematophagous and can harbor potential pathogens, fleas act as ectoparasites of vertebrates, as well as zoonotic disease vectors. Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are important vectors of two zoonotic bacterial genera listed as priority pathogens by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID-USA): Bartonella spp. and Rickettsia spp., causative agents of bartonelloses and rickettsioses, respectively.
In this study, we introduce the first microbiome analysis of C. felis samples from California, determining the presence and abundance of relevant pathogenic genera by characterizing the cat flea microbiome through 16S rRNA next-generation sequencing (16S-NGS). Samples from both northern (NoCal) and southern (SoCal) California were assessed to expand current knowledge regarding FBDs in the state. We identified Rickettsia and Bartonella, as well as the endosymbiont Wolbachia, as the most abundant genera, followed by less abundant taxa. In comparison to our previous study screening Californian cat fleas for rickettsiae using PCR/digestion/sequencing of the ompB gene, the 16S-NGS approach applied herein showed a 95% level of agreement in detecting Rickettsia spp. There was no overall difference in microbiome diversity between NoCal and SoCal samples. Bacterial taxa identified by 16S-NGS in this study may help to improve epidemiological investigations, pathogen surveillance efforts, and clinical diagnostics of FBDs in California and elsewhere.
Bartonella and Rickettsia spp. are also diseases Lyme/MSIDS patients have to contend with. There is no good, solid research studying the ability of ticks to transmit Bartonella, yet most of us out here in Lyme land have it. Rickettsia’s out here too in plenty. I would think this important issue would be dealt with. Somehow patients are getting these diseases and its either happening by direct transmission or by being activated once they get Lyme and their immune systems become compromised.
Either way, this issue MUST be studied, resolved, and appropriately death with.
Mainstream medicine is completely lost when it comes to tick borne illnesses such as these. Lyme is finally getting acknowledged due to shear numbers, but don’t kid yourself, thousands upon thousands have Bartonella and Rickettsia as well. The one drug, one pathogen paradigm needs to be forgotten like a bad dream and researchers and doctors need to become educated on this complex 21st Century plague.
BTW: Wolbachia is being widely used as a biocontrol. Here’s why that may not be such a great idea: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/07/10/wolbachia-the-next-frankenstein/
It is my strong opinion that ALL of these factors are a perfect storm of events causing human suffering and disease. Researchers need to zoom out and look at the big picture and the interconnection of things or we are doomed.