Cat-Scratch Disease in an AIDS Patient Presenting with Generalized Lymphadenopathy: An Unusual Presentation with Delayed Diagnosis.

Mantis J, et al. Am J Case Rep. 2018.


BACKGROUND Bartonella infection is the causative organism of cat-scratch disease (CSD), which typically presents with self-limited localized lymphadenopathy. In HIV-infected patients, Bartonella infection can cause systemic illnesses with significant morbidity and mortality manifesting as bacillary angiomatosis (BA), hepatic peliosis, splenitis, bacteremic febrile illness, and other organ involvement. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no reports of HIV-infected patients presenting with generalized lymphadenopathy caused by Bartonella infection. We report an unusual case of CSD presenting with generalized lymphadenopathy in an AIDS patient with advanced immunosuppression.

CASE REPORT A 44-year-old woman with AIDS, advanced immunosuppression, and intermittent adherence to antiretroviral therapy and medical care, presented with cough and increased generalized tender lymphadenopathy. A lymph node biopsy 1 year earlier was non-diagnostic for tuberculosis, fungal infection, and lymphoproliferative disorders. She remained with generalized lymphadenopathy. A repeat biopsy with the addition of Warthin-Starry silver staining suggested the diagnosis of cat-scratch lymphadenitis. She responded well to a long course of azithromycin antibiotic therapy, with the resolution of lymphadenopathy. CONCLUSIONS Cat-scratch disease may present with prolonged generalized lymphadenopathy, an unusual presentation in HIV patients with advanced immunosuppression. Awareness of the possibility of CSD in a similar clinical scenario may prompt early recognition and management of this disease.



While this case study is on an HIV-infected patient, those infected with Lyme/MSIDS can have similar presentations with systemic illness, and significant morbidity and mortality due to the immunosuppressive nature of tick borne infections (TBI’s).

Both my husband and I had Bartonella yet no lymph-node involvement.  This checklist outlines most of the most prevalent symptoms & we had many:  (Checklist within link along with other symptoms and cases)

Notice that treatment was a “long course” of antibiotics that for some reason is acceptable for an immunosuppressed HIV patient but NOT an immunosuppressed Lyme/MSIDS patient.  It’s a head scratcher for sure.

Congenital transmission is highly likely: