• Dr. Nicole Vumbaco | DVM

Routes of Transmission:

Updated: a day ago

Routes of transmission have traditionally been classified as vector-borne (ie-biting insects like fleas, sand flies or human lice), or secondary to a cat bite or scratch, typically associated with the presence of fleas. Over the last few decades, additional routes of transmission have been discovered.


Below are helpful publications discussing newly discovered routes of potential transmission.

The research is evolving and much more is needed but implicate the following:

  1. Animal Saliva

  2. Perinatal Transmission

  3. A growing list of newly identified vectors, like ticks

  4. Needle Stick Transmission in a Veterinarian

  5. Blood Transfusions (Bartonella remains viable during long-term storage of Red Blood Cell Units)

Animal Saliva-Cat Bite Transmission:

  1. Bartonella henselae Antibodies after Cat Bite. Emerging Infectious Disease, 2008

  2. Detection of Bartonella henselae in domestic cats' saliva. Iranian Journal of Microbiology, 2010

  3. Isolation of Bartonella quintana from a woman and a cat following putative bite transmission. Journal of clinical microbiology, 2006

  4. Cat Scratch Disease and Arthropod Vectors: More to it than a Scratch? Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2010


Perinatal Transmission:

Sadly, transplacental transmission of Bartonella species occurs commonly in naturally and experimentally infected rodents. Compounding data suggests that Bartonella can undergo vertical transmission in humans.


In general, 'Vertical Transmission' means that an infection/pathogen uses the intimate nature of pregnancy to transmit disease directly from mother to- an embryo, fetus, during childbirth or to the baby during pregnancy. Vertical Transmission typically occurs when the mother has a pre-existing disease or becomes infected during pregnancy.