Ophthalmic manifestations of bartonella infection


Purpose of review 

The eye is commonly affected in disseminated cat scratch disease (CSD) caused by Bartonella species. This article reviews recently published data on epidemiology of CSD, clinical features of ocular involvement, diagnosis and treatment.

Recent findings 

The annual incidence of CSD has been estimated as 4.7 per 100, 000 in the United States. It occurs predominantly in the southern states, with a peak in January, and disproportionately affects children. Retinal infiltrates, neuroretinitis and branch retinal artery occlusions have been reported as common manifestations of ocular bartonellosis in recent series. The use of different antigens for serodiagnosis and new real-time PCR assays for molecular diagnosis have been described. Despite lack of a standard treatment, good visual outcomes were generally reported in patients with ocular bartonellosis.


Bartonella infections continue to be a burden worldwide and epidemiologic features may guide preventive measures in high-risk regions and populations. An increased awareness of diverse posterior segment manifestations will lead to an early diagnosis of ocular bartonellosis. Laboratory diagnostic methods continue to evolve and may be applied to the investigation of ocular fluids for a definitive diagnosis of ocular bartonellosis. Well designed clinical trials are required to establish the optimum treatment of especially sight-threatening manifestations.


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