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New species of bacteria named for professor of zoonoses

August 15, 2003

A new Bartonella species, isolated from a French cow, has been named Bartonella chomelii in honor of Bruno B. Chomel, professor of zoonoses at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The new species of bacteria is cited in the August issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Chomel is the first scientist to isolate Bartonella bovis from domestic cattle. He also is the first to experimentally demonstrate the transmission of Bartonella henselae by fleas in cats. He has contributed to an improved understanding of epidemiology and vectors of Bartonella -associated disease in animals.

Bartonella is the bacterial agent of cat scratch fever, a usually mild disease in people that can become a serious health problem in immunocompromised individuals.

Chomel has assisted in isolating Bartonella species from wild and domestic animals, including cattle and cats, throughout the world, including Philippines, Italy, U.S., France and Denmark. Chomel's research team has learned that distribution of Bartonella among ticks appears widespread in California, and that California coyotes show signs of Bartonella exposure.