Archive for the ‘Bartonella’ Category

Reminder: Lyme Awareness Talk – May 4, 2021


When: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 – 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Online

For adults held via Zoom. Registration required and opens April 1.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average number of cases has more than doubled over the last decade. In this presentation, learn from Alicia Cashman from Madison Lyme Support Group about Lyme Disease, how to protect you and your family, what common symptoms are, and what to do if you have symptoms.

If you have questions or need special accommodations at events contact Kara at (608) 835-6268 or

The program is made possible through funding from the Friends of the Oregon Library.

Tick on a green plant

PANS, A Misdirected Immune Response, Can Hijack a Child’s Life

PANS, a misdirected immune response, can hijack a child’s life

Pilot Study Finds Evidence of Bartonella in Schizophrenia Patients

Pilot Study Finds Evidence of Bartonella Infection in Schizophrenia Patients

NC State gateway at sunset

A pilot study from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found evidence of Bartonella infection in the blood of people with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

“Researchers have been looking at the connection between bacterial infection and neuropsychiatric disease for some time,” says Dr. Erin Lashnits, a former veterinary internist at NC State, current faculty member at the University of Wisconsin and first author of the study.

“Specifically, there has been research suggesting that cat ownership is associated with schizophrenia due to the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, but to date there has been no conclusive evidence in support of a causative role for this parasite. So we decided to look at another cat-associated infectious agent, Bartonella, to see if there could be a connection.”

Bartonella are bacteria historically associated with cat-scratch disease, which until recently was thought to be solely a short-lived (or self-limiting) infection. Cats can become infected with Bartonella via exposure to fleas and potentially ticks, which are natural vectors of the bacteria. The cat is a host for at least three of the 40 known Bartonella species: Bartonella henselae, Bartonella clarridgeiae and Bartonella koehlerae.

“While there is emerging understanding of neuropsychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia as disorders of brain networks, the question about the actual causes remains unanswered,” says corresponding author Flavio Frohlich, associate professor of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine. “It was an exciting opportunity for us in the UNC Department of Psychiatry to team up with the leading experts on Bartonella to pursue this innovative idea of a potential link to schizophrenia. To our knowledge, this is the very first work that examines a potential role of Bartonella in schizophrenia.”

The research team enrolled a group of 17 people with stable, medically managed schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and a control group of 13 healthy adults, to test for evidence of Bartonella infection.

All participants filled out questionnaires on severity of symptoms and potential Bartonella exposure. Blood samples were taken from participants twice in a one-week period. The samples were cultured in a growth medium, and both cultured and whole blood samples underwent qPCR and droplet digital, or ddPCR testing, at seven-, 14- and 21-day intervals, to look for evidence of Bartonella organism-specific DNA. Blood samples were also tested for Bartonella species-specific antibodies.

Of the 17 patients with schizophrenia, 12 had Bartonella DNA in their blood, as compared to only one of 13 in the control group. According to the questionnaires, both patients and controls reported similar pet ownership and flea exposures.

Bartonella ddPCR, a very new diagnostic technology, provides a more sensitive molecular test than we’ve previously had access to,” says Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt, Melanie S. Steele Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine at NC State and study coauthor. “If we had not used ddPCR to test this cohort of individuals, we would not have found Bartonella DNA in any of the participants, either case or control.”

“It is important to remember that our study was by design not able to demonstrate a causal link between Bartonella infection and schizophrenia,” Frohlich says. “However, we believe this initial observational study strongly supports the need for follow-up research.”

The researchers plan to proceed with a larger study to see whether their preliminary results are borne out.

“Many of these patients have been undergoing care for years,” Breitschwerdt says. “What we’re starting to see is a pattern – Bartonella can persist for a long time. And for the subset of people who can’t eliminate the infection, the bacteria can cause chronic or progressive illness.”

The research appears in Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases and was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (grants UL1TR002489 and T32OD011130). Ricardo Maggi and Julie Bradley of NC State, as well as L. Fredrik Jarskog of UNC-Chapel Hill, contributed to the work.


Note to editors: The abstract of the paper follows.

“Schizophrenia and Bartonella spp. infection: a pilot case-control study”

DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2020.2729

Authors: Erin Lashnits, Ed Breitschwerdt, Ricardo Maggi, Julie Bradley, North Carolina State Univerity; L. Fredrik Jarskog, Flavio Frolich, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Published: March 15, 2021 in Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

Recently, infections with emerging zoonotic bacteria of the genus Bartonella have been reported in association with a range of central nervous system (CNS) symptoms. Currently, it remains unknown if Bartonella spp. infection is associated with symptoms of schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder (SCZ/SAD). The objective of this study was to determine if there is an association between Bartonella species infection and SCZ/SAD. A secondary objective was to determine if SCZ/SAD symptoms were more severe among participants with documented Bartonella spp. infection. Using a case–control study design, 17 cases and 13 controls were evaluated with a series of clinical and cognitive assessments. Blood samples were collected and tested for Bartonella spp. infection using serological, microbiological, and molecular techniques. People with SCZ/SAD were more likely than healthy volunteers to have Bartonella spp. DNA in their bloodstream, with 11 of 17 cases (65%) positive by Bartonella spp. droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). In comparison, only one healthy volunteer was Bartonella spp. ddPCR positive (8%, p = 0.0024). Based on serology, Bartonella spp. exposure was common among people with SCZ/SAD (12 of 17) as well as among healthy volunteers (12 of 13), with no significant difference between the groups ( p = 0.196). Within the case group of people with SCZ/SAD, there was no significant difference in SCZ/SAD severity scores between people with and without ddPCR evidence of Bartonella spp. infection. This pilot study provides preliminary evidence in support of future investigations that should examine a potential contribution of Bartonella spp. infection to SCZ/SAD.


For more:

10 Top Causes of Symptoms in Chronic Lyme Disease

10 Top Causes Of Symptoms In Chronic Lyme Disease

(Please see link above for full article.  Excerpts below)

1) Mold toxicity

Real Time labs is among the most accurate of labs for mold testing. Effective mold toxin binders include the medication cholestyramine and activated charcoal.

2) Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infections are often not detectable on conventional lab tests, and may not even show up in sophisticated stool tests; therefore, using multiple forms of testing to detect parasites, such as electrodermal screening tools such as the Zyto or muscle testing, is important, along with lab testing with reputable labs such as Doctors’ Data.

3) Hormone and Neurotransmitter Imbalances

Replenishing the body’s stores of these chemicals can therefore profoundly support the healing process and Lyme doctors will commonly prescribe bio-identical hormones such as pregnenolone, DHEA and thyroid hormone to their patients, along with amino acids such as L-tyrosine, GABA and 5-HTP, which the body uses to make neurotransmitters. To make these amino acids work in the body, supplemental co-factors such as P5P, SAMe, and methyl B-12 are also sometimes important.

4) Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Common deficiencies include magnesium, Vitamins D, C and B-vitamins; zinc and iron—among others. Supplementation with these nutrients can help to support the body during healing. (For more information on common nutritional deficiencies in Lyme disease and supplements that support the body, I encourage you to check out my 2012 book Beyond Lyme Disease).

5) Inflammation

Reducing inflammation involves mitigating all of its causes, such as removing pathogens and toxins from the body, and downregulating the immune response with nutrients and tools such as low-dose immunotherapy. High-quality, natural anti-inflammatory substances such as curcumin may also be helpful for supporting the body’s inflammatory response.

6) Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Supporting the mitochondria with supplements such as L-carnitine and CO Q-10 can help to mitigate fatigue and other symptoms related to mitochondrial dysfunction.

7) Emotional Trauma

Many studies have proven that trauma suppresses immune function and when prolonged, can open the door to chronic health challenges.

8) A Poor Diet

Removing allergenic foods and consuming fresh, organic “real” food, such as non-GMO, antibiotic, pesticide, and hormone-free meats, poultry, eggs, and other proteins; non-starchy veggies and low-glycemic fruits, along with healthy fats such as olive and coconut oil, can help to alleviate symptoms caused by food.

9) Poor Gastrointestinal Function

Supplementing with GI nutrients such as hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and probiotics may help to support gastrointestinal function in those with Lyme.

10) Environmental Toxicity

Sauna therapy, rebounding, coffee enemas, liver cleanses, and taking toxin binders such as zeolite, chlorella, EDTA, activated charcoal—among others, are just a few ways to remove toxins from the body.  Ideally, you’ll want to work with a practitioner who can test your body for toxins and prescribe a regimen in conjunction with Lyme disease treatment based on your needs. The same holds for the other causes of symptoms described here.

This article was first published on on April 26, 2016 and was updated on September 22, 2020.

Connie Strasheim is the author of multiple wellness books, including three on Lyme disease. She is also a medical copywriter, editor and healing prayer minister. Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine and prayer, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. You can learn more about her work at: ConnieStrasheim.



Not mentioned is Lyme itself, and the many other potential players.  While parasites apart from Lyme is mentioned, dealing with the infections is paramount.  Of course these infections are indirectly affected by the things listed in the helpful article, but never underestimate the infection(s) themselves.  Good, effective, savvy treatment is required.

For more:

Could You Be Co-infected With Bartonella?

by Jennifer Crystal

I was bitten by a tick in summer 1997 while working at a camp in the woods of Maine. It would be another eight years, however, until I figured out that the rash I developed that summer was a result of a tick bite, and that my subsequent hypoglycemia, crushing fatigue, joint and muscle aches, and fever were caused by the tick-borne diseases Lyme, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis. That fall of 1997, during my sophomore year of college, I fell ill with the aforementioned symptoms. I missed class. I couldn’t exercise. I could hardly walk to the dining hall.

Because of frequent low blood sugar reactions, I gained a lot of weight very quickly. I felt ashamed of my sudden, noticeable size change. Though I frequently sought care for my flu-like symptoms—often being told I was just run down or stressed—I did not consider that the weight gain might be related to my other symptoms. Medical practitioners didn’t, either; some just told me to go on a diet.

Part of my shame was about deep reddish-purple marks that developed on my chest and in my groin. I assumed these were stretch marks from my skin expanding to accommodate my weight.

Had I shown them to a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD), they might have said that instead of stretch marks, lines on my skin possibly could have been striae caused by Bartonella henselae.

As noted on the GLA website, bartonellosis is a bacterial disease starting with a red mark that can become swollen and discolored or even look like “stretchmarks” or striations. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes (especially under ears), often with conjunctivitis, heart or spleen problems, bone lesions, hepatitis, other eye problems and encephalitis (causing seizures and coma). There is indirect clinical evidence that this is a group of “Bartonella-like organisms” that can co-infect a Lyme patient. Identification of these organisms awaits further scientific study.

Many people with Bartonella henselae also experience pain in the soles of their feet. According to the National Institutes of Health, “This is associated with trauma to blood vessels in the soles of the feet with walking.” Furthermore, “Anemia can occur from Bartonella scavenging nutrients from red blood cells.”

At the time I developed striae, I was also experiencing pain on the soles of my feet when I ran (which I did when I was feeling up to it, as my symptoms waxed and waned). I thought the pain was from heel spurs, or simply because I needed new sneakers.

How easily we explain away symptoms, not realizing they could be related to actual illness.

Though my initial blood test for Bartonella henselae was negative, my LLMD always suspected I might have had it, because of the symptoms I described. The antibiotics he prescribed treated Lyme, ehrlichiosis, and bartonellosis, so our bases were covered regardless. I have not experienced striae or heel pain in years.

Not all patients know about bartonella, and not all doctors, even LLMDs, think to test for it. This oversight could be detrimental to patients, as they might not be receiving the right treatment, or enough of it. If you have other tick-borne illnesses and have not been tested for bartonella, it’s a good idea to ask your LLMD about it. If you have any of the symptoms I’ve described, consider whether bartonella could be the cause.

To read more blogs click here.

jennifer crystal_2

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Jennifer Crystal is a writer and educator in Boston. Her memoir about her medical journey is on submission. Contact her at



This article brings up some great points and reminds me of things I’ve forgotten in our own journey.

The hypoglycemia mentioned can be severe. My husband required food be immediately available. It seemed his body was on hyperdrive and he couldn’t consume enough calories. We had nuts and nut bars stashed everywhere – especially in the car because frightening hypoglycemic episodes would happen while he was driving, making him shake and feel like passing out. (I will add checking your thyroid is a good idea as most patients are typically deficient in thyroid hormones)

The pain in the feet can be severe as well and feel as if someone beat you with a mallet. We also noticed pain in the ankles and wrists – so bad you could drop whatever you were holding due to severe, stabbing pain that felt like a nerve impingement. Going down the stairs and walking is risky because the ankles feel like caving

Bartonella, although not mentioned here, can cause some pretty frightening psychological issues as well. My husband suffered with anxiety would come on like the wind leaving him visibly shaking – afraid for no logical reason. Used to meeting and speaking in front of hundreds of people he would have to periodically cancel meetings as his body rebelled against all logic and common sense. There’s no talking a person out of this. It just is. I had heart involvement that would wake me in the middle of the night with a heart flopping in my chest like a fish flops on the dock after you pull it out of the water. I would lay there and ponder why I was awake and feeling the way I did. This pondering, going through the triage of symptoms can cause an anxiety of its own – as your body seemingly is not communicating with your brain and has gone rogue.

Mainstream doctors haven’t a clue. If I had a dollar for every patient who told me a doctor said their symptoms were due to “anxiety or stress” I’d be a millionaire. These wild, rogue symptoms cause anxiety because they are so unbelievably frightening, but they are the problem and they need to be addressed.

This lack of bodily control is maddening and can be one of the most frustrating aspects of this illness. You become afraid to go anywhere or do anything as your body has a mind of its own. A prisoner in your own home.

For more: In my experience, Bartonella is one of the most tenacious coinfections, yet it is completely ignored by mainstream medicine.

Bartonella is also very common in pets and many other bugs, including spiders and mites. Veterinarians are particularly at risk.