Archive for the ‘Bartonella’ Category

Emerging Tick Borne Diseases in Australia


Emerging Tick Borne Diseases in Australia

Aug. 1, 2022

Dr. Peter Mayne

This recently uploaded video is about a 2011 paper found here:


Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease (LD), and Babesia, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia species (spp.) are recognized tick-borne pathogens in humans worldwide. Using serology and molecular testing, the incidence of these pathogens was investigated in symptomatic patients from Australia. Sera were analyzed by an immunofluorescent antibody assay (IFA) followed by immunoglobulin (Ig)G and IgM Western blot (WB) assays. Both whole blood and sera were analyzed for detection of specific Borrelia spp. DNA using multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Simultaneously, patients were tested for Babesia microti, Babesia duncani, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and Bartonella henselae infection by IgG and IgM IFA serology, PCR, and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Most patients reported symptom onset in Australia without recent overseas travel.
  • 28 of 51 (55%) tested positive for LD
  • Of 41 patients tested for tick-borne coinfections, 13 (32%) were positive for Babesia spp
  • nine (22%) were positive for Bartonella spp
  • Twenty-five patients were tested for Ehrlichia spp. and (16%) were positive for Anaplasma phagocytophilum while none were positive for Ehrlichia chaffeensis.
  • Among the 51 patients tested for LD, 21 (41%) had evidence of more than one tick-borne infection.
  • Positive tests for LD, Babesia duncani, Babesia microti, and Bartonella henselae were demonstrated in an individual who had never left the state of Queensland.
  • Positive testing for these pathogens was found in three others whose movements were restricted to the east coast of Australia.

The study identified a much larger tick-borne disease (TBD) burden within the Australian community than hitherto reported. In particular, the first cases of endemic human Babesia and Bartonella disease in Australia with coexisting Borrelia infection are described, thus defining current hidden and unrecognized components of TBD and demonstrating local acquisition in patients who have never been abroad.



I repost this because “the powers that be” in Australia continue to downplay and deny that Lyme exists in Australia, despite the plethora of suffering patients and many doctors who state otherwise.  (Remember, there are many, many strains of borrelia or Lyme)

Please see this recent article, Growing evidence of an emerging tick-borne disease that causes a Lyme-like
illness for many Australia patients,” by 
Professor Noel. Campbell

It appears Mayne has also been disciplined for his stance on Lyme, like many other LLMDs.

Mayne states he has absolute proof that Lyme is in Australia as tissue samples at the bite sites that he took from two patients were positive for Lyme from DNA analysis.

Deer Keds, Flying Ticks?

Tick season in Germany: Look out for “flying ticks”


Ticks can cause similar problems amongst humans, spreading diseases like tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme disease, as well as some other, lesser-known diseases like babesiosis and boutonneuse fever. In 2019, a Hyalomma tick even infected a man in North Rhine-Westphalia with typhus.

Beware of “flying ticks”

Between July and October, the deer louse fly is also active in Germany. Sometimes known as a “flying tick”, these critters make a beeline for their target and then shed their wings when they land, burrowing down, biting and sucking blood from their victims. The ticks usually target animals, but attacks on humans have been recorded. They prefer to bite humans on the scalp or neck and can cause allergic reactions and even heart infections.

Deer louse flies are usually found in forests in the summer and autumn. It is recommended to thoroughly check any pets after walks in case they have been bitten by ticks. Ticks can be located using a flea comb and removed with adhesive tape or washed away. Any animal that has been infested with ticks should be bathed and washed.

(See link for article)


The deer ked (Lipoptena cervi) mainly parasitize elk and deer but also bite humans.  It is unknown whether it serves as a vector for transmission but the following have been detected:

Remains of L. cervi have been found on Otzi, the Stone Age mummy.

Read the following on the deer fly (200 species in the Chrysops genus):

While male deer flies collect pollen, female deer flies feed on blood, which they require to produce eggs.[4] Females feed primarily on mammals. They are attracted to prey by sight, smell, or the detection of carbon dioxide. Other attractants are body heat, movement, dark colours, and lights in the night. They are active under direct sunshine and hours when the temperature is above 22 °C (71.6°).[4] When feeding, the females use scissor-like mandibles and maxillae to make a cross-shaped incision and then lap up the blood. Their bite can be painful. Anti-coagulants in the saliva of the fly prevents blood from clotting and may cause severe allergic reactions. Parasites and diseases transmitted by the deer fly include tularemia, anthrax, anaplasmosis, equine infectious anemia, hog cholera, and filiariasis. DEET is not an effective repellent.[2]


New records show spread of parasitic deer flies across the United States

May 31, 2019
Penn State
With flattened bodies, grabbing forelegs and deciduous wings, deer keds do not look like your typical fly. These parasites of deer — which occasionally bite humans — are more widely distributed across the US than previously thought, according to entomologists, who caution that deer keds may transmit disease-causing bacteria.

With flattened bodies, grabbing forelegs and deciduous wings, deer keds do not look like your typical fly. These parasites of deer — which occasionally bite humans — are more widely distributed across the U.S. than previously thought, according to Penn State entomologists, who caution that deer keds may transmit disease-causing bacteria.

“It was more or less known where deer keds are found, but very broadly,” said Michael Skvarla, extension educator and director of the Insect Identification Lab in the Department of Entomology at Penn State. “We don’t know if deer keds transmit pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms), but if they do, then knowing where they are at more precisely could be important in terms of telling people to watch out for them.”

The researchers collated records of the four North American deer ked species and produced the most detailed locality map of these flies to date, documenting ten new state and 122 new county records. The researchers published their results in a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology. They also provided an illustrated species-identification key.

The team harnessed citizen science — collection of data by the public — to gather deer ked records from the U.S. and Canada. In addition to scouring museum databases and community websites like BugGuide and iNaturalist, the team distributed deer ked collection kits to hunters as part of the Pennsylvania Parasite Hunters community project. The researchers also collected flies directly from carcasses at Pennsylvanian deer butcheries.

“I really like using citizen science information,” said Skvarla. “It often fills in a lot of gaps because people are taking photographs in places that entomologists may not be going. Deer keds are the perfect candidate for citizen science. They’re easy to identify because there’s only four species in the country and because they’re mostly geographically separated. And as flat, parasitic flies, they’re really distinctive. You couldn’t do this with a lot of insect groups because they’d be too difficult to identify from photographs.”

The European deer ked, Lipoptena cervi, thought to have been introduced from Europe, previously was reported to occur throughout the Northeast region. The researchers newly report this species from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and as far south as Virginia. In Pennsylvania, it occurs throughout the state, with 26 new county records.

The researchers also describe new records of the neotropical deer ked, L. mazamae, from North Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri — increasing its range further north and east than had previously been reported.

In western North America, two deer ked species, L. depressa and Neolipoptena ferrisi, are found from British Columbia through the U.S. and into Mexico — and as far east as South Dakota. The researchers newly report these species from Nevada and Idaho.

Deer keds are usually found on deer, elk and moose, but occasionally bite humans and domestic mammals. Although several tick-borne pathogens — including bacteria that cause Lyme disease, cat scratch fever and anaplasmosishave been detected in deer keds, it is unknown whether they can be transmitted through bites.

“In Pennsylvania you have a lot of hunters,” said Skvarla.

“Deer keds can run up your arm while you’re field dressing a deer and bite you. If these insects are picking up pathogens from deer, they could transmit them to hunters. With two million hunters in the state, that’s not an insignificant portion of the population. We don’t want to scare people, but people should be aware there is the potential for deer keds to transmit pathogens that can cause disease.”

The researchers will next screen hundreds of deer keds for pathogens. They will also dissect some insects to screen the salivary glands and guts separately. According to Skvarla, this approach will give a good indication of whether deer keds could transmit pathogens through bites, or whether the bacteria are merely passed through the gut after a blood meal.

In Pennsylvania, after deer keds emerge from the soil each fall, they fly to a host and immediately shed their wings, usually remaining on the same host for life. Females produce just one egg at a time — it hatches inside her, and she feeds the growing larva with a milk-like substance. When the larva is almost fully developed, it drops to the soil and forms a pupa, eventually emerging as a winged adult. If disease-causing bacteria are transmitted from mother to offspring, newly emerged flies could pass on pathogens to hosts. Pathogens could also be spread when bacteria-harboring flies jump between animals in close contact.

The other researcher working on this project was Erika Machtinger, assistant professor of entomology at Penn State.


Deer Ked: A Lyme-Carrying Ectoparasite on the Move

Lipoptena cervi, known as the deer ked, is an ectoparasite of cervids traditionally found in northern European countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Although rarely reported in the United States, this vector recently has been shown to carry Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophylum from specimens collected domestically. Importantly, it has been suggested that deer keds are one of the many disease-carrying vectors that are now found in more expansive regions of the world due to climate change. We report a rare sighting of L cervi in Connecticut. Additionally, we captured a high-resolution photograph of a deer ked that can be used by dermatologists to help identify this disease-carrying ectoparasite.

Practice Points

  • There are many more disease-carrying arthropods than are routinely studied by scientists and physicians.
  • Even if the insect cannot be identified, it is important to monitor patients who have experienced arthropod assault for signs of clinical diseases.

Case Report

A 31-year-old man presented to the dermatology clinic 1 day after mountain biking in the woods in Hartford County, Connecticut. He stated that he found a tick attached to his shirt after riding (Figure). Careful examination of the patient showed no signs of a bite reaction. The insect was identified via microscopy as the deer ked Lipoptena cervi.


Lipoptena cervi, known as the deer ked, is an ectoparasite of cervids traditionally found in Norway, Sweden, and Finland.1 The deer ked was first reported in American deer in 2 independent sightings in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in 1907.2 More recently deer keds have been reported in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.3 In the United States, L cervi is thought to be an invasive species transported from Europe in the 1800s.4,5 The main host is thought to be the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus viginianus). Once a suitable host is found, the deer ked sheds its wings and crawls into the fur. After engorging on a blood meal, it deposits prepupae that fall from the host and mature into winged adults during the late summer into the autumn. Adults may exhibit swarming behavior, and it is during this host-seeking activity that they land on humans.3

Following the bite of a deer ked, there are reports of long-lasting dermatitis in both humans and dogs.1,4,6 One case series involving 19 patients following deer ked bites reported pruritic bite papules.4 The reaction appeared to be treatment resistant and lasted from 2 weeks to 12 months. Histologic examination was typical for arthropod assault. Of 11 papules that were biopsied, most (7/11) showed C3 deposition in dermal vessel walls under direct immunofluorescence. Of 19 patients, 57% had elevated serum IgE levels.4

In addition to the associated dermatologic findings, the deer ked is a vector of various infectious agents. Bartonella schoenbuchensis has been isolated from deer ked in Massachusettes.7 A recent study found a 75% prevalence of Bartonella species in 217 deer keds collected from red deer in Poland.5 The first incidence of Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophylum in deer keds was reported in the United States in 2016. Of 48 adult deer keds collected from an unknown number of deer, 19 (40%), 14 (29%), and 3 (6%) were positive for B burgdorferi, A phagocytophylum, and both on polymerase chain reaction, respectively.3

A recent study from Europe showed deer keds are now more frequently found in regions where they had not previously been observed.8 It stands to reason that with climate change, L cervi and other disease-carrying vectors are likely to migrate to and inhabit new regions of the country. Even in the current climate, there are more disease-carrying arthropods than are routinely studied in medicine, and all patients who experience an arthropod assault should be monitored for signs of systemic disease.

Does Unrecognized Lyme in Mothers Lead to Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Does unrecognized Lyme in mothers lead to autism spectrum disorder?

July 3, 2022

By Debbie Kimberg

I received many positive responses to my recent blog about my son’s 80% recovery from symptoms that had been diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This was accomplished with long-term antibiotic treatment for congenital tick-borne diseases (TBD).

After reading the article, many parents wrote to me, saying things like, “Thank you for sharing your story. The description of your son sounds just like my child. This gives me hope!” And they went on to ask, “How can I find a doctor to test my child?”

Common symptoms of TBD in parents

Testing the child is only part of what’s needed. When children develop such problems, it’s often because the mother has unknowingly passed along tick-borne diseases during pregnancy. Mothers of children with these problems may not realize that they themselves may have tick-borne diseases—and deserve testing and treatment. And sometimes dads are infected, too.

Here are symptoms that mothers may experience, without knowing that they could be the result of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and Bartonella1:

  • Psychiatric symptoms: ADHD, anxiety, social anxiety, depression, OCD, temper rages/irritability, mood swings/bipolar, panic attacks, memory issues/brain fog, oppositional, fears, emotional lability, and in severe cases, psychosis, hallucinations, suicidal ideation and violence
  • Autoimmune symptoms: thyroid, arthritis, fatigue, neuropathy/MS, muscle pain/fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease
  • Other: gluten/dairy sensitivity, sleep issues, migraines, urinary issues, eating disorders, day or night sweats, seizures, and some cancers

Symptoms of unrecognized and untreated tick-borne diseases–stealth infections–can slowly worsen over years and decades.

Important clues

Mothers of children with ASD that I corresponded with frequently listed off symptoms they experienced, the doctors they saw, and testing done. Nearly all of these mothers described having psychiatric symptoms, and often had symptoms of one or more autoimmune diseases. These are important clues about a potential TBD transmission during pregnancy2.

Only a few mothers said they were tested for Lyme disease (Borrelia). Of those who were tested, most said they received a negative result on a commonly used lab test, which was potentially a falsely negative result.

One mom had a positive test result for Borrelia, was treated by her doctor with doxycycline for a few weeks and declared cured. However, it is unlikely the mother was cured from this complex disease with just a few weeks of doxycycline, evidenced by her child’s and her own continued symptoms. With the current treatments available, it’s not uncommon for these infections to take years to treat, even with a combination of antibiotics.

Bartonella is known to cause many psychiatric symptoms. That’s the infection that caused 70% of my son’s ASD (and PANS) symptoms. In addition to the many psychiatric issues listed, Bartonella is also known to cause ADHD, memory issues, brain fog, gluten/dairy sensitivity, sleep issues, digestive issues, thyroid, arthritis, neuropathy, muscle pain, inflammatory bowel disease, tumors, and seizures1,3.

If the mother experiences psychiatric or autoimmune issues, this is probably not a coincidence. More likely, it is the smoking gun.

Don’t recall a tick bite?

Most people I’ve heard from say they don’t remember a tick bite. However, it is common for people to be unaware that they were bitten by a tick. Additionally, there’s evidence that these infections can be transmitted sexually5 and during pregnancy6.

Don’t let the lack of a known tick bite deter you from getting screened by a Lyme specialist.

I offer my own history as an example of how these infections can be transmitted within families. As of December 2021, my family has three confirmed generations of TBD.

My mother suffered stealth psychiatric symptoms from Bartonella including OCD, anxiety, social anxiety, emotional lability, night terrors, and night sweats when my sister and I were growing up. My mom has no recollection of a tick bite and no idea when she was infected.

My sister and I first began exhibiting anxiety, fears, oppositional behavior, bedwetting, excessive tantrums, and panic attacks at a young age. It’s likely that we both were infected congenitally, then unsuspectingly passed the infections on to our children during our pregnancies.

Some people mistakenly believe that tick-borne disease is only a problem in the northeastern United States. Wrong! Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have been identified throughout the country.

Why does it matter if you are undiagnosed if the symptoms don’t impact your everyday life?

There are three reasons. First, it matters to our children, our next generation who may be infected during pregnancy and born with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD or psychiatric difficulties8. Second, for your own long-term health, because this is a progressive disease that could affecf any organ in your body over time. And finally, you could transmit the disease to your partner.

Find a knowledgeable doctor

Unfortunately, finding a knowledgeable doctor can be a challenge. The majority of doctors, including infectious disease doctors, are not trained on the latest findings in TBD and rarely consider it at an office visit6. Doctors rarely probe into the full set of psychiatric and physical symptoms of their patients which could indicate TBD.

Additionally, commonly used testing is notoriously inaccurate1 due to the lack of sensitivity of the test. Even with specialty tests, there can be false negative test results as we saw in my family’s testing.

Furthermore, many doctors don’t understand that a person with chronic TBD has a 50% likelihood of having at least two co-infections and a 33% likelihood of having three or more co-infections. If Lyme disease is suspected, the full spectrum of co-infections should be tested for and treated. These factors cause many people to go undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed.

If you do have a positive test, the common practice for doctors is to treat the Borrelia (Lyme) infection with a few weeks of doxycycline10,11. This is insufficient treatment for many. The potentially more impactful co-infections such as Bartonella, Babesia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma are generally not tested or treated.

Contributing to the problem, the CDC website does not cover the vast array of symptoms that can develop with these complex, multi-faceted chronic diseases. The CDC’s coverage of Bartonella henselae infection is a prime example of scant information that applies only to patients immediately following a tick bite. The CDC does not address the many psychiatric and physical symptoms that can develop over time.

Could stealth infections in mothers be the cause of skyrocketing rates of ASD?

Why are the rates of autism skyrocketing? It’s a perplexing and frustrating question. Might the multi-generational transmission of these stealth infections–especially Bartonella–be a major contributing factor?

If you are pregnant or want to get pregnant and believe you have symptoms, do not hesitate to get tested6. Find a Lyme specialist at the links below.

Remember, testing, even with specialty tests, frequently show falsely negative results. A good Lyme specialist will be able to offer a clinical diagnosis based on your symptoms, if needed.

Dr. Rosalie Greenberg, a child psychiatrist and Lyme expert, says that she sees families like mine in her practice every day because psychiatric symptoms are so common with TBD. She also made an eye-opening comment in her writing, “I’ve been a child psychiatrist for 40 years. The world of tick-borne illness is nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. It makes one really rethink a lot of medicine.”

You can find a Lyme specialist on

To learn about my son’s story, follow me on Instagram @HijackedBrains or visit my website.

On July 12, Debbie Kimberg will take part in a webinar entitled “Co-morbidity of Lyme disease and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children,” sponsored by Project Lyme. Click here for details.


1. Recovery from Lyme Disease: An Integrative Medicine Guide to Diagnosing and Treating Tick-borne Illness, by Dr. Daniel Kinderlehrer, pages 66-77, 122-124, 131-134, 138

2. It’s Time to Recognize Congenital Lyme by Dr. Rosalie Greenberg

3. Bartonella, The Stealth Pathogen That You Can See without a Microscope by Dr. Rosalie Greenberg

4. Schizophrenia and Bartonella spp. Infection: A Pilot Case Control Study

5. Sexual Transmission of Lyme Borreliosis? The Question That Calls for an Answer

6. Molecular evidence of Perinatal Transmission of Bartonella vinsonii susp. berkhoffii and Bartonella henselae to a Child

7. Lyme Disease Data Tables: Historical Data, CDC

Note: These rates are new infections only. The CDC does not take into account a) the known issue with high rates of false negative testing b) the many people who have no known tick bite and stealth symptoms that do not seek testing c) the unknown number of children believed to have a congenital infection

8. Tick-borne Disorders and Mental Illness in Youth: An Unrecognized Connection by Dr. Rosalie Greenberg

9. Lyme Disease Co-Infections, Lonnie Marcum,

10. Guidance for Clinicians, Caring for Patients after a Tick Bite, CDC

11. Tick-borne Diseases of the United States: A Reference Manual for Healthcare Providers, CDC
Note: There is no mention of Bartonella, the arguably the most impactful infection in terms of ASD.

Additional Resources

Breitschwerdt explains what’s known and unknown about Bartonella, April 3, 2019

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a doctor. This writing is an opinion held by the author and is not intended to dispense medical advice. If you have medical questions, please seek the care of a Lyme specialist.

For more:

How Prevalent is Bartonella?

How prevalent is Bartonella in people who have Lyme disease?

July 15, 2022

By Lonnie Marcum

At a meeting of the federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group on March 1, Ben Beard, PhD of the CDC made a highly significant statement that passed without remark at the time.

Beard’s statement was in reply to a comment by Monica Embers, PhD, also a member of the working group. Embers noted that several slides from Beard’s Clinical Presentation and Pathogenesis subcommittee mentioned neuropsychiatric illness and neuropathic manifestations of Lyme disease.

“We’re seeing a lot more neuropsychiatric disease associated with Bartonella,” said Embers. “I’m wanting to hear more about your thought process and your recommendation with respect to bartonellosis?”

Bartonella’s “significant impact”

Beard replied:

“In my view Bartonella is ubiquitous. There are multiple different Bartonella species. A lot of people are exposed to cats and fleas, and Bartonella henselae–or cat scratch disease–is pretty common. Our group looked at it as an illness that is associated with people with other tick-borne illnesses. Not necessarily agreeing that it’s tick-borne—for me the jury is still out for that—but I’m perfectly convinced that it is very common, and that it may be confounding the diagnosis, and that it is an important co-infection. We need not get side-tracked on whether or not it’s tick-borne. We need to agree that it’s a common infection, commonly seen in patients with other illnesses, and it can have a significant impact on clinical outcome and presentation.”

This is actually a showstopper of a comment.
The CDC has long declined to categorize bartonellosis as tick-borne and has not considered it a co-infection of Lyme.

Even today, the CDC website states: “Ticks may carry some species of Bartonella bacteria, but there is currently no causal evidence that ticks can transmit Bartonella infection to people through their bites.”

Yet, as Beard observed, Bartonella is very common in people with Lyme disease.

What the data says

In MyLymeData,’s patient-led research project, 60% of patients with chronic symptoms of Lyme disease report co-infections. A previously published survey of over 3,000 patients found that over 50% had co-infections, with 30% of patients reporting two or more. Bartonella (28%) was the second most commonly reported co-infection associated with chronic Lyme disease. (Johnson, L., et al., 2014)

Bartonella does not respond to standard treatment for Lyme disease, and it is notoriously difficult to detect through standard tests. Moreover, Bartonella is not included in standard surveillance testing for ticks, and cases of the disease are not tracked by the CDC

Which leads me to the elephant in the room: nobody knows how many cases of bartonellosis there are in the US—or anywhere else for that matter.

What is bartonellosis?

Bartonellosis is caused by one of many species of the bacterium Bartonella. It is harbored in wild and domestic animals, and can be transmitted to humans through a number of different pathways including fleas, flies, lice, animal bites, animal scratches, ticks, bedbugs, and possibly through maternal fetal transmission. (Maggi RG, et al., 2015; Reis C, et al., 2011)

First identified in 1990, Bartonella henselae bacteria is the most common cause of bartonellosis in humans. Bartonella henselae infection, also called cat scratch disease, is frequently caused by flea bites or the scratch of an infected cat. The primary reservoirs for B. henselae across the world are domestic and stray cats, and the primary vector is the cat flea (ctenophalides felis). (Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2017)

Prior to 1990, there were only two diseases known to be caused by Bartonella bacteria. One was “Carrion’s disease,” endemic to parts of South America, caused by Bartonella bacilliformis. The other was “trench fever,” which infected many soldiers during World War I, caused by Bartonella quintana.  Though the illness was first described in 1915, Bartonella quintana was not  molecularly identified as its cause until 1961. (Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2017)

We now know that these bacteria have been infecting humans for thousands of years. Researchers discovered Bartonella quintana in a 4,000-year-old human tooth in France. (Drancourt M., et al., 2005)

Today, at least 40 different species of Bartonella have been identified.  About half of them are known to cause symptoms in humans or animals.

Bartonella is a stealth pathogen

At a recent conference, Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, a leading expert in the field,  explained how Bartonella can invade and “literally affect every system in the body.” This includes the: cutaneous, muscular, skeletal, endocrine, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

He reviewed several recent studies implicating Bartonella infection in the brain in relation to several neuropsychiatric and autoimmune manifestations.

According to Breitschwerdt, these bacteria are extremely difficult to find in humans because they are slow growing and can hide within cells.

He explained how Bartonella, which are intracellular bacteria, have the ability to:

  • invade red blood cells, wall themselves off, and hide from the immune system (immune evasion)
  • migrate into the nervous system via macrophages (Trojan horse)
  • penetrate the blood brain barrier via endothelial cells and pericytes
  • persist within the brain via microglial cells.

Considering the number of different species and different methods of contracting Bartonella, Dr. Breitschwerdt ponders, “Is Bartonellosis a modern-day hidden epidemic?” (Breitschwerdt E.B., 2014)

Symptoms of bartonellosis

The symptoms of bartonellosis can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on the Bartonella species and the health of those infected. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence links Bartonella to neuropsychological symptoms.

The most commonly reported neurological symptoms include sleep disorders, mental confusion, memory loss, brain fog, irritability, rage, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, migraines, tremors, hallucinations, psychosis and postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS).

Additional symptoms common to bartonellosis are swollen lymph nodes (especially around the head, neck and arm pits), bone pain (especially shins), pain in the soles of the feet, low grade fever in the morning, night sweats, tender nodules along the extremities, gastrointestinal pain, and skin markings (striae) that resemble stretch marks.

The table below lists the known species of Bartonella associated with human disease, the most common symptoms as well as the reservoir host and vector.

bartonella symptoms

How a stealth pathogen may prolong your chronic illness

In individuals with strong immune systems, Bartonella infection is often mild or asymptomatic. However, in those with an impaired immune system, Bartonella can wreak havoc on the body.

In fact, Bartonella henselae was discovered in the 1990s during the AIDS epidemic. Because  the HIV virus causes an acquired immune deficiency, these patients were extremely susceptible to new infections and reactivation of latent infections. In this patient population, Bartonella caused a distinctive skin lesion called bacillary angiomatosis (BA), and a type of liver disease called peliosis hepatis. (Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2017)

Advanced, disseminated disease is more likely to occur in immunocompromised patients or those taking immunosuppressive drugs. Without proper treatment, the infection can spread systemically throughout the body. The result is sometimes fatal.

When the co-infection becomes the main infection

Data from multiple animal studies shows that Borrelia burgdorferi suppresses the immune system. (Buffen K, et al., 2016; Tracy KE, Baumgarth N., 2017)

This makes me wonder. How many people with chronic Lyme disease had a latent Bartonella infection that was re-activated when their immune system became impaired?

I believe this was the case with my daughter. We live on a farm with lots of animals, including cats. Veterinarians, cat owners, and people who live or work on farms are at increased risk for Bartonella.

It wasn’t until my child became deathly ill after contracting Ehrlichia chaffeensis that her Bartonella symptoms began.

The symptoms that stood out were the constant migraine/headache, memory loss, bone pain, painful soles of feet, relapsing fever, insomnia, nighttime hallucinations that made everything look like Whoville, POTS, skin marks (striae) that resembled stretch marks, swollen lymph nodes, and an immune system so impaired it led to a temporary misdiagnosis of HIV. What a horrific experience for all of us!

Diagnosis & Treatment

Because  Bartonella may hide inside of cells and only emerge periodically, you may need to test multiple times to find a confirmatory diagnosis. And in patients who are immunocompromised, the test may not turn positive until after treatment has begun.

Research led by Ricardo Maggi, Ed Breitschwerdt and colleagues has led to the development of a new digital PCR that is much more sensitive to Bartonella. Even still, Dr. Maggi recommends running multiple types of tests (IFA serology, PCR, culture, and microscopy).

According to Dr. Joseph Burrascano, one should consider bartonellosis when symptoms persist after treatment for Lyme disease. Especially when the neurological symptoms are out of proportion to the common symptoms of disseminated Lyme disease.

Just as with Lyme disease, the longer Bartonella goes untreated, the more difficult it is to treat.  Furthermore, the standard treatment for Lyme (doxycycline) is ineffective against Bart. As Dr. Breitschwerdt famously said, “You cannot float humans or horses in enough doxycycline to kill this bacteria.”

According to the CDC: “A number of antibiotics are effective against Bartonella infections, including azithromycin, penicillins, tetracyclines, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, and macrolides. More than one antibiotic is often used. Consult with an expert in infectious diseases regarding treatment options.”

Dr. Burrascano says, treating Bartonella-like organisms “can be difficult, as drug resistance can rapidly develop to macrolides and fluoroquinolones when used as a single agent and solo courses of tetracyclines are ineffective.”

Moving forward with Bartonella research

In 2021, a new Bartonella Research Consortium was formed with a $4.8 million grant from The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

The consortium includes Ed Breitschwerdt and Ricardo Maggi of North Carolina State University, Monica Embers of Tulane University, and Timothy Haystead of Duke University, who is continuing the work of the late Dr. Neal Spector.

The team is actively working towards creating a targeted treatment for bartonellosis and quickly getting the drug to the marketplace for use in both animals and humans.

It’s time medicine moves beyond the one-pathogen-one-disease model. Let’s face it, ticks are full of toxic soup. Because each pathogen interacts with the host in unique ways, extensive research is needed to understand all factors surrounding co-infections and Lyme disease. (Moutailler S, et al., 2016)

Understanding the complex nature of these pathogens, how they impact the immune system, and how other bacterial and viral factors shape illness, will be key in improving public health. (Cheslock, M. A., & Embers, M. E., 2019)

It’s time for the CDC, NIH, HHS, the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group and other researchers to start looking deeper into the prevalence of Bartonella infections–not just in patients with Lyme disease but in all patients with poorly-defined chronic illnesses.


More information about testing/diagnosis of Bartonellosis see:

Free Bartonella CME Course:

LymeSci is written by Lonnie Marcum, a Licensed Physical Therapist and mother of a daughter with Lyme. She has served two terms on a subcommittee of the federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. Follow her on Twitter: @LonnieRhea  Email her at:



Excellently written.  Bartonella is a real problem out here, but the CDC is just sipping on margaritas.

For more:

Methylene Blue – Magic Bullet?  (Transcript Here)


Why You Should Listen

In this episode, you will learn about the potential applications of the “magic bullet” methylene blue.

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About My Guest

My guest for this episode is Dr. John Lieurance.  John Lieurance, ND, DC is a naturopath and chiropractic neurologist who has been in private practice for 27 years.  He directs Advanced Rejuvenation, a multi-disciplinary clinic, with a focus on alternative and regenerative medicine, naturopathic medicine, functional neurology functional cranial release, Lumomed, Lyme disease, mold illness, and many other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, degenerative neurological disease, and inner ear conditions.  He travels internationally teaching other doctors.  Dr. Lieurance founded, a web based educational portal, which sends out weekly videos on health and wellness tools for overcoming disease and fostering longevity and vitality.  He has been featured in many podcasts and documentaries.  He is the author of the 5-star book Melatonin: Miracle Molecule available on Amazon and at

Key Takeaways

  • What is the history of methylene blue in medicine?
  • Can methylene blue be helpful in addressing vector-borne infections such as Borrelia, Bartonella, and Babesia?
  • Does methylene blue have virucidal properties?
  • How might methylene blue be helpful in chronic UTIs and interstitial cystitis?
  • What effect of methylene blue on biofilms and the organisms within them?
  • What role does methylene blue play in the electron transport chain?
  • How might methylene blue be anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective?
  • Might methylene blue have a role as a cognitive enhancer?
  • What is the role of methylene blue in concussions and TBIs?
  • Can methylene blue play a role in improving depression?
  • Can methylene blue lead to detoxification reactions? Are binders and drainage support recommended?
  • How might methylene blue support autophagy or the body’s janitorial service?
  • How might nano silver, nano gold, or red light therapy potentize the effects of methylene blue?
  • Should ascorbic acid be taken with methylene blue?
  • Should CoQ10 be avoided with methylene blue?
  • Should methylene blue be used daily or pulsed?
  • Can methylene blue be used with psychedelic interventions?
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Related Resources

eBook: Methylene Blue: Magic Bullet: The Ultimate Supplement for Mitochondrial Support!
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Functional Cranial Release



I’ve had my eye on MB since this came out:

I’ve just forwarded to my LLMD for his perusal but would love to consider this if I relapse again with Bartonella.  As you all know, antibiotics have blow-back and although Clarithromycin/rifampin get us back to rights each and every time we take it, the old gut is not tolerating this treatment for very long.  I’m always looking for a “plan B” as you never know when the proverbial “shoe will drop” making life miserable again.

You can get the FREE downloadable “Methylene Blue & Metabolic Medicine: The ‘Magic Bullet’ & Futuristic Medicine” by clicking on the top link, and typing in BETTERHEALTH in the coupon code.  Go here for research, articles, videos as well as for more information about Dr. John and the Florida clinic.

http://  (Approx. 33 Min)

March 6, 2020