Bartonella Seizures

Status Epilepticus Due to Cat Scratch Disease: Recognition, Diagnosis, and Thoughts on Pathogenesis

Schuster AL, Honeycutt TC, Hamrick HJ.

Pediatric Emergency Care. 2016 Nov;32(11):789-791.


Despite the publication of a number of case reports since the 1950s, physician awareness of the unique relationship between cat scratch disease (CSD) and acute encephalopathy remains limited.

This report alerts emergency medicine physicians to include CSD encephalopathy (CSDE) in the differential diagnosis when a previously healthy child presents with status epileptics (epileptic seizures that follow one another without recovery of consciousness between them). Prompt recognition of this relationship impacts the selection of initial diagnostic studies and antibiotic choices and permits reliable insight into prognosis.

The 2 cases are from different eras and demonstrate the significant diagnostic advances in the past 3 decades for Bartonella henselae infection. Both children were treated with antibiotics, and both had resolution of all neurological symptoms. However, the role of antibiotics in the treatment and outcome of CSDE remains speculative.

Lastly, the report suggests potential areas of investigation to address immune-mediated mechanisms in the pathogenesis of CSDE.


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