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Volume 15, Number 6–June 2009

Bartonella quintana in Body Lice and Head Lice from Homeless Persons, San Francisco, California, USA

Denise L. Bonilla, Hidenori Kabeya, Jennifer Henn, Vicki L. Kramer, and Michael Y. Kosoy
Author affiliations: California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA (D.L. Bonilla, J. Henn, V.L. Kramer); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (H. Kabeya, M.Y. Kosoy); Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan (H. Kabeya); and Napa County Health and Human Services, Napa, California (J. Henn)

Bartonella quintana is a bacterium that causes trench fever in humans. Past reports have shown Bartonella spp. infections in homeless populations in San Francisco, California, USA. The California Department of Public Health in collaboration with San Francisco Project Homeless Connect initiated a program in 2007 to collect lice from the homeless to test for B. quintana and to educate the homeless and their caregivers on prevention and control of louse-borne disease. During 2007–2008, 33.3% of body lice–infested persons and 25% of head lice–infested persons had lice pools infected with B. quintana strain Fuller. Further work is needed to examine how homeless persons acquire lice and determine the risk for illness to persons infested with B. quintana–infected lice.

Bonilla DL, Kabeya H, Henn J, Kramer VL, Kosoy MY. Bartonella quintana in body lice and head lice from homeless persons, San Francisco, California, USA. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2009 Jun [date cited]. Available from

DOI: 10.3201/eid1506.090054


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