Carrion's disease is caused by infection with the α-proteobacterium Bartonella bacilliformis. Distribution of the disease is considered coincident with the distribution of its known vector, the sand fly Lutzomyia verrucarum. Recent epidemics of B. bacilliformis infections associated with atypical symptomatology in nonendemic regions have raised questions regarding the historic and present distribution of this bacterium and the scope of disease that infection causes. Phylogenetic relationships and genomic diversity of 18 B. bacilliformis isolates (10 isolates from a region where Carrion's disease is epidemic, Cuzco, Peru, and 8 isolates from a region where Carrion's disease is endemic, Caraz, Peru) were assessed using genomic data generated by infrequent restriction site PCR and gene sequence analysis of the flagellin gltA and ialB genes. A population genetic analysis of the genomic diversity suggests that what was once considered an epidemic region of Peru did not result from the recent introduction of B. bacilliformis.
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