Bartonellosis (aka Bartonella illness, cat scratch fever)

Ticks have been shown to carry Bartonella, although currently, CDC indicates there is no causal evidence that ticks can transmit Bartonella through a tick bite. There is a paper of a case which does show potential for tick transmission in a canine, although a case cannot prove causation.  Many doctors who treat Lyme disease see Bartonella co-infections in their Lyme and tick-borne disease patients.   



It is known that Bartonella is transmitted through the scratches of domestic or feral cats. Infected fleas can carry the Bartonella bacteria and infect the cats and may spread it directly to people, although CDC says this is yet unproven. The disease is often called cat scratch disease.  Another strain of Bartonella is transmitted by the human body louse causing what is called trench fever. Another strain causes Carrion’s disease, formerly called bartonellosis, through the bite of a sand fly. It occurs in Western South America in high elevations of the Andes Mountains. 

Ticks that can carry Bartonella include Ixodes Scapularis (also called the blacklegged tick or deer tick) and Ixodes Pacificus (western blacklegged tick), both of which can transmit Lyme disease.  More than one co-infection can be transmitted from the same tick bite.

Bartonella henselae is associated with heartburn, abdominal pain, skin rash, mesenteric adenitis, gastritis and duodentis in children and adolescents.  Symptoms can include visual problems, headaches, significant lymph node enlargement, resistant neurological deficits and the new onset of a seizure disorder.

Diagnosis is based on acute and convalescent antibody titers (IFA) and/or positive PCR analysis.

Treatment may be combination macrolides, TCNs, rifamycin, (also possible Bactrim or fluoroquinolones).  Provided as information only. 

Click album below for photos of Bartonella rashes  /index.php/resources/medical-photos/category/27-bartonella



Link to LDA Bartonella photos

Bartonellosis rash photos


Link to paper on Bartonella

Fried et al Bartonella


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