A vet has been left suffering with extreme fatigue for almost a decade, after she caught an infection from a cat scratch which caused symptoms so severe she thought she was going blind or had a brain tumor.

A flea-infested cat scratched Victoria Altoft, 41, from the county of Somerset in south west England, while she was at work in the fall of 2010, PA Real Life reported.

Weeks later, Altoft’s muscles and joints were in pain and she was hit by night sweats, leading her to assume she had the flu. She was “utterly exhausted” and took the uncharacteristic decision to take two weeks off work.

“I just couldn’t get out of bed,” she told PA Real Life. As time passed, her joints swelled up, which her doctor put down to post-viral inflammation.

But Altoft became worried when her vision started to blur. She went for an emergency eye appointment, and medics thought her symptoms could be caused by a brain tumor or the condition multiple sclerosis, which affects the central nervous system.

Tests revealed she was suffering a rare Bartonella infection, and doctors prescribed her with antibiotics: the treatment given to serious cases of the condition.

black cat kitten pet animal stock getty
Cat scratch disease can be passed on by infected pets. GETTY

The bacteria is carried by infected fleas which live on animals like cats or dogs. Lice and sandflies are also vectors of the Bartonella group of bacteria which can cause cat scratch disease, as well as Carrion’s disease (only found in the Andes Mountains), and trench fever (most often present in people who live in areas of poverty with poor sanitation).

In most people, cat scratch disease doesn’t require treatment and fades by itself in between two to four months. But severe cases require antibiotic treatment.

Symptoms materialize several days or weeks after the bacteria invades the body. After three to 10 days, a painless raised red spot might appear on the skin where the infection passed through the skin. Over time this may become filled with fluid, with a crust forming before it heals. The lymph nodes near the site of infection might become swollen, red and hot to the touch, and puss-filled. Other symptoms include a general feeling of illness, headache, fatigue, and fever and—less often—sore throat and weight loss.

It took a year for her sight to return to normal. Altoft told PA Real Life she still suffers from fatigue despite being scratched in 2010.

“To this day, it’s difficult to know exactly what the long-lasting effects of contracting Bartonella are, as there is so little research, but I know I’m not the same now as I was before it happened,” she said.

Altoft is working with the Big Flea project run by the University of Bristol and the pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health, who are researching the parasites which affect dogs and cats in the U.K.

The vet urged pet owners to take flea infestations seriously as they can pose a serious threat to human health.



First off, Bartonella is NOT RARE.

Second, someone PLEASE cut the nails on that cat!

For many, many people Bartonella is NOT something that, “fades by itself in between two to four months.”

Bartonella is a particularly tenacious infection that can cause so many symptoms it boggles the mind. Couple it with Lyme disease and you are one sick dog. Throw in Babesia, and you are in bed for a long, long time. from full-text

  • Carrion’s disease
  • cat-scratch disease
  • chronic lymphadenopathy
  • trench fever
  • chronic bacteraemia
  • culture-negative endocarditis
  • bacilliary angiomatosis
  • bacilliary peliosis
  • vasculitis
  • uveitis [1,2,4,6,7,9,10,11].
  • hallucinations
  • weight loss
  • muscle fatigue
  • partial paralysis
  • pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS)
  • other neurological manifestations [6,8,10].

Regarding vectors, it’s far more than fleas, lice, and sandflies:

Bartonella spp. are zoonotic pathogens transmitted from mammals to humans through a variety of insect vectors including the sand fly, cat fleas, and human body louse [4,5]. New evidence suggests that ticks, red ants, and spiders can also transmit Bartonella [15,16,17,18]. Bed bugs have been implicated in the transmission cycle of B. quintana and have been artificially infected [19]. B. quintana was found in bed bug feces for up to 18 days postinfection [19]. The diversity of newly discovered Bartonella species, the large number and ecologically diverse animal reservoir hosts, and the large spectrum of arthropod vectors that can transmit these bacteria among animals and humans are major causes for public health concern.

Regarding ticks….

3.3 Arachnids (Spiders &Ticks)

Over the last 10 years, the topic of ticks transmitting Bartonella species has been widely debated. Evidence exists to support the transmission of Bartonella through many different species of ticks.

Ixodid ticks, also known as hard ticks, appear to be the main type of tick associated with these bacteria. Tick cell lines have been used to show that Bartonella can replicate and survive within:

  • Amblyoma americanum (Lone Star Tick)
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Brown Dog Tick)
  • Ixodes scapularis cells [77] (Deer Tick)

In California, questing ticks of

  • Ixodes pacificus (Western Black legged Tick)
  • Dermacentor occidentalis (Pacific Coast Tick)
  • Dermacentor variabilis (American Dog Tick)

were collected when in the adult and nymphal stages and tested for Bartonella by PCR for the citrate synthase gene. [78]. All types of ticks were found to contain Bartonella DNA, although in varying percentages and locations.These data alone do not prove that ticks can transmit Bartonella spp. Bacteria; however, the results do show Bartonella DNA occurring naturally in these wild ticks.

I know researchers are currently working on the link between Bartonella and cancer. Recently a young boy was diagnosed with schizophrenia but was found to have Bartonella:

All you have to do is type “Bartonella” into the search bar on this website and let your fingers do the walking.  Bartonella is HUGE and quite common.

More on Bartonella:

It’s a killer:!po=1.02041

Look at the pictures of what it did to this woman: assure you – this would not have faded on its own….

Lastly, Dr. Ericson has incredible imaging showing Bartonella surviving around tissues where a PIC line pumped antibiotics directly into the body:

Trust me.  You don’t want this.