Certain Bartonella species are known to cause afebrile bacteremia in humans and other mammals, including B. quintana, the agent of trench fever, and B. henselae, the agent of cat scratch disease. Reports have indicated that animal-associated Bartonella species may cause paucisymptomatic bacteremia and endocarditis in humans. We identified potentially zoonotic strains from 6 Bartonella species in samples from patients who had chronic, subjective symptoms and who reported tick bites. Three strains were B. henselae and 3 were from other animal-associated Bartonella spp. (B. doshiae, B. schoenbuchensis, and B. tribocorum). Genomic analysis of the isolated strains revealed differences from previously sequenced Bartonella strains. Our investigation identifed 3 novel Bartonella spp. strains with human pathogenic potential and showed that Bartonella spp. may be the cause of undifferentiated chronic illness in humans who have been bitten by ticks.”
“In summary, their ‘major finding is the isolation of zoonotic Bartonella other than B. quintana in the blood of patients with poorly qualified syndromes. These results indicate that zoonotic Bartonella spp. infection may cause undifferentiated chronic illness in humans.’ (With “poorly qualified syndromes” the authors are primarily referring to CFS-chronic fatigue syndrome. “Undifferentiated” symptoms are generalized complaints like joint or muscle pain, numbness, tingling, headache, insomnia, fatigue or “flu-like” symptoms. “Undifferentiated chronic illness” is basically an illness that we don’t have an explanation or a clear diagnosis for.)
The authors state it is crucial to determine whether Bartonella is involved ‘because treatment for chronic Bartonella bacteremia (as for B. quintana) is particularly arduous and may require six weeks of doxycycline treatment together with three weeks of gentamicin, as these are the only antimicrobial drugs known to be effective in eradication of Bartonella.’
Here’s my take away from this study: If someone with a tick bite tests negative for Lyme but continues to have chronic symptoms like those I’ve highlighted above, a weird striated rash (like the one pictured below), swollen lymph nodes, or has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and/or myalgic encephalomyelitis, it would be wise to be tested for a Bartonella infection.”
Image from Lonnie Marcum’s site: http://tenaciouspt.blogspot.com/2016/02/cdc-finds-several-new-species-of.html
There are other things besides doxy and gentamicin that are effective against Bartonella. Don’t trust the CDC on this, trust veterinarian Dr. Breitschwerdt, who has far more expertise in this area than regular GP’s.