Bartonella spp. Bloodstream Infection in a Canadian Family
Historically, Bartonella spp. have been associated with febrile illness (Oroya fever, trench fever, and cat scratch disease), endocarditis (numerous Bartonella spp.), and vasoproliferative lesions (Bartonella bacilliformis, Bartonella quintana, Bartonella henselae, and Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii), occurring most often but not exclusively in immunocompromised patients. Recently, bloodstream infections with various Bartonella spp. have been documented in nonimmunocompromised individuals in association with a spectrum of cardiovascular, neurologic, and rheumatologic symptoms. As documented in this family, symptoms for which the medical implications remain unclear can occur in multiple family members infected with one or more Bartonella spp. Serial serologic and molecular microbiological findings supported exposure to or infection with Bartonella spp. in all seven family members. Either antibiotics failed to eliminate bacteremic infection, resulted in partial resolution of symptoms, or potentially reinfection occurred during the 19-month study period. There is a substantial need for clinical research to clarify the extent to which Bartonella spp. bacteremia induces nonspecific cardiovascular, neurologic, or rheumatologic symptoms for ongoing improvement in the sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic testing, and clarification as to if, when, and how to treat patients with documented Bartonella spp. bacteremia.
Various strains have been found in eye fluid, the heart (myocarditis and endocarditis), and cysts, and can infect by nearly anything puncturing the skin and exchanging bodily fluids – including needles. Evidence also suggests congenital transmission.
Symptoms are largely associated with where the blood flow is compromised. The reason many have pain in the soles of their feet is due to inflammation caused by microvascular trauma. It has been known to cause cysts around dental roots leading to chronic and hard to diagnose head and face pain as well as root canals. This microvascular trauma is also to blame for brain issues causing psychological issues such as anxiety, anger, and suicidal thoughts, since the small vessel disease affects executive function. A cog is literally caught in the wheel. As neurotransmitters become depleted due to overstimulation, depression rears its ugly head. A vicious cycle ensues.
Due to the cyclical nature of Bartonella and that it exists in very low amounts in human blood, blood tests are unreliable. It also has a long division time between 22-24 hours and requires a special growth environment. There is a Triple Draw through Galaxy which collects blood over 8 days to maximize the test, stating a 90% reduction in false negatives.