Bartonella species as a cause of infective endocarditis in the UK

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Bartonella spp. are increasingly implicated in infectious endocarditis cases in the UK. Herein, we attempted to quantify their role in this syndrome and explored the epidemiology of Bartonella-associated endocarditis in the UK. Between November 2005 and October 2010, samples from 685 endocarditis patients were submitted to the Health Protection Agency for Bartonella serology. Serological evidence of infection was obtained for 57 (8·3%) patients. PCR-based evidence of infection was obtained from 13 out of 14 patients for whom heart valve tissue was available, with Bartonella quintana implicated in 12 cases and B. henselae in one. Six patients with B. quintana endocarditis were recent immigrants into the UK, of whom four lived in poor socioeconomic conditions. These results indicate that Bartonella is a not uncommon cause of endocarditis in the UK and should be considered particularly in patients raised in eastern Europe and/or with a history of homelessness or alcoholism.

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