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Bartonellosis

Causative Agent
Bartonella henselae & Bartonella spp.
Type of Organism
Bacterial Species
Length of Attachment for Transmission
Unknown

Initial Symptoms

If infected with Bartonella henselae, symptoms for cat scratch fever will be present. These include:

  • A swollen and discolored red mark resembling scratches.
  • Visibly swollen lymph nodes
  • Heart, eyes, and spleen complications.
  • Encephalitis resulting in seizures and possible coma.

Some individuals infected with Bartonella henselae will remain asymptomatic.

Diagnosis and Testing

  • Most often, clinical signs and a history of exposure will be the key in diagnosis.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction may also assist in diagnosis by detecting the presence of Bartonella species DNA in serum.

CDC Treatment Recommendation

It is possible for infection of Bartonella species to resolve without intervention.

If intervention is necessary, the following course of antibiotics is recommended:

  • Adults and Children >45.5kg: 500mg on day 1 and 250mg for 4 days.
  • Children <45.5kg: 10mg/kg on day 1 and 5mg/kg for 4 days.

Disease Pathogenesis

  • Bartonella henselae is a Bartonella species known to infect ticks and cause cat scratch fever in humans.
  • Once inside the host, Bartonella henselae will infect endothelial cells and white blood cells.
  • If untreated, complications in the eyes, spleen nervous system, kidney, and bones could occur.
  • Symptoms are mainly caused by the body’s immune response to the infection and will resolve within 2-6 months.

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