2019 Feb 1;12(1):69. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-3257-y.

Effectiveness of a 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin polymer matrix collar in reducing the risk of Bartonella spp. infection in privately owned cats.



Bartonella henselae, Bartonella clarridgeiae and the rare Bartonella koehlerae are zoonotic pathogens, with cats being regarded as the main reservoir hosts. The spread of the infection among cats occurs mainly via fleas and specific preventive measures need to be implemented. The effectiveness of a 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin polymer matrix collar (Seresto®, Bayer Animal Health), registered to prevent flea and tick infestations, in reducing the risk of Bartonella spp. infection in privately owned cats, was assessed in a prospective longitudinal study.


In March-May 2015 [Day 0 (D0)], 204 privately-owned cats from the Aeolian Islands (Sicily) were collared (G1, n = 104) or left as controls (G2, n = 100). The bacteraemia of Bartonella spp. was assessed at enrolment (D0) and study closure (D360) by PCR and DNA sequencing both prior to and after an enrichment step, using Bartonella alpha proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM).


A total of 152 cats completed the study with 3 in G1 and 10 in G2 being positive for Bartonella spp. Bartonella henselae genotype I ZF1 (1.35%) and genotype II Fizz/Cal-1 (6.76%) as well as B. clarridgeiae (5.41%) were detected in cats of G2. Bartonella clarridgeiae was the only species detected in G1. Based on the yearly crude incidence of Bartonella spp. infection (i.e. 3.85% in G1 and 13.51% in G2; P = 0.03) the Seresto® collar achieved a preventative efficacy of 71.54%. The incidence of Bartonella spp. infection was more frequent in flea-infested cats (6/33, 18.18%) than in uninfested ones (7/112, 5.88%) (P = 0.036).


Cats living in the Aeolian Islands are exposed to B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae. The Seresto® collar provided significant risk reduction against Bartonella spp. infection in outdoor cats under field conditions. Such a preventative tool could be a key contribution for decreasing the risk of Bartonella spp. infection in cats and thus ultimately to humans.



Bartonella is a huge player with Lyme/MSIDS, and far more than cats & fleas are involved.  Many healthy people without cat exposure have contracted Bartonella:  Healthy 2 year old with no history of cat exposure.  All the patients denied a history of a cat or any animal contact, or of having CSD findings.  Healthy 1.5-year-old girl who was seen in hospital for the sparing use of her left arm when crawling. Tested positively for Bartonella henselae.  Case of a 53-year-old healthy man, presenting with confusion. Serology confirmed Bartonella henselae infection.  Healthy 10 year old girl had coexisting transverse myelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) related to infection with Bartonella henselae.  While cats are implicated, this 3 year old had no significant medical history, presented at emergency department for a 2-week history of worsening scalp lump with redness.  All immunocompetent hosts.