Archive for the ‘Bartonella’ Category

Reducing Bartonella in Cats Utilizing Flea & Tick Collar

2019 Feb 1;12(1):69. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-3257-y.

Effectiveness of a 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin polymer matrix collar in reducing the risk of Bartonella spp. infection in privately owned cats.



Bartonella henselae, Bartonella clarridgeiae and the rare Bartonella koehlerae are zoonotic pathogens, with cats being regarded as the main reservoir hosts. The spread of the infection among cats occurs mainly via fleas and specific preventive measures need to be implemented. The effectiveness of a 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin polymer matrix collar (Seresto®, Bayer Animal Health), registered to prevent flea and tick infestations, in reducing the risk of Bartonella spp. infection in privately owned cats, was assessed in a prospective longitudinal study.


In March-May 2015 [Day 0 (D0)], 204 privately-owned cats from the Aeolian Islands (Sicily) were collared (G1, n = 104) or left as controls (G2, n = 100). The bacteraemia of Bartonella spp. was assessed at enrolment (D0) and study closure (D360) by PCR and DNA sequencing both prior to and after an enrichment step, using Bartonella alpha proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM).


A total of 152 cats completed the study with 3 in G1 and 10 in G2 being positive for Bartonella spp. Bartonella henselae genotype I ZF1 (1.35%) and genotype II Fizz/Cal-1 (6.76%) as well as B. clarridgeiae (5.41%) were detected in cats of G2. Bartonella clarridgeiae was the only species detected in G1. Based on the yearly crude incidence of Bartonella spp. infection (i.e. 3.85% in G1 and 13.51% in G2; P = 0.03) the Seresto® collar achieved a preventative efficacy of 71.54%. The incidence of Bartonella spp. infection was more frequent in flea-infested cats (6/33, 18.18%) than in uninfested ones (7/112, 5.88%) (P = 0.036).


Cats living in the Aeolian Islands are exposed to B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae. The Seresto® collar provided significant risk reduction against Bartonella spp. infection in outdoor cats under field conditions. Such a preventative tool could be a key contribution for decreasing the risk of Bartonella spp. infection in cats and thus ultimately to humans.



Bartonella is a huge player with Lyme/MSIDS, and far more than cats & fleas are involved.  Many healthy people without cat exposure have contracted Bartonella:  Healthy 2 year old with no history of cat exposure.  All the patients denied a history of a cat or any animal contact, or of having CSD findings.  Healthy 1.5-year-old girl who was seen in hospital for the sparing use of her left arm when crawling. Tested positively for Bartonella henselae.  Case of a 53-year-old healthy man, presenting with confusion. Serology confirmed Bartonella henselae infection.  Healthy 10 year old girl had coexisting transverse myelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) related to infection with Bartonella henselae.  While cats are implicated, this 3 year old had no significant medical history, presented at emergency department for a 2-week history of worsening scalp lump with redness.  All immunocompetent hosts.



High Prevalence of Bartonella in Spanish Veterinarians With Non-Specific Symptoms: Headache, Insomnia, Fatigue, & Memory Problems

. 2017; 10: 553.
Published online 2017 Nov 7. doi: 10.1186/s13071-017-2483-z
PMCID: PMC5678790
PMID: 29116007

Prevalence of Bartonella spp. by culture, PCR and serology, in veterinary personnel from Spain



The genus Bartonella includes fastidious, facultative intracellular bacteria mainly transmitted by arthropods and distributed among mammalian reservoirs. Bartonella spp. implicated as etiological agents of zoonoses are increasing. Apart from the classical Bartonella henselae, B. bacilliformis or B. quintana, other species (B. elizabethae, B. rochalimae, B. vinsonii arupensis and B. v. berkhoffii, B. tamiae or B. koehlerae, among others) have also been associated with human and/or animal diseases. Laboratory techniques for diagnosis (culture, PCR assays and serology) usually show lack of sensitivity. Since 2005, a method based on a liquid enrichment Bartonella alphaproteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) followed by PCRs for the amplification of Bartonella spp. has been developed. We aimed to assess culture, molecular and serological prevalence of Bartonella infections in companion animal veterinary personnel from Spain.


Each of 89 participants completed a questionnaire. Immunofluorescence assays (IFA) using B. vinsonii berkhoffii (genotypes I, II and III), B. henselae, B. quintana and B. koehlerae as antigens were performed. A cut-off of 1:64 was selected as a seroreactivity titer. Blood samples were inoculated into BAPGM and subcultured onto blood agar plates. Bartonella spp. was detected using conventional and quantitative real-time PCR assays and DNA sequencing.


Among antigens corresponding to six Bartonella spp. or genotypes, the lowest seroreactivity was found against B. quintana (11.2%) and the highest, against B. v. berkhoffii genotype III (56%). A total of 27% of 89 individuals were not seroreactive to any test antigen. Bartonella spp. IFA seroreactivity was not associated with any clinical sign or symptom. DNA from Bartonella spp., including B. henselae (n = 2), B. v. berkhoffii genotypes I (n = 1) and III (n = 2), and B. quintana (n = 2) was detected in 7/89 veterinary personnel. PCR and DNA sequencing findings were not associated with clinical signs or symptoms. No co-infections were observed. One of the two B. henselae PCR-positive individuals was IFA seronegative to all tested antigens whereas the other one was not B. henselae seroreactive. The remaining PCR-positive individuals were seroreactive to multiple Bartonella spp. antigens.


High serological and molecular prevalences of exposure to, or infection with, Bartonella spp. were found in companion animal veterinary personnel from Spain. More studies using BAPGM enrichment blood culture and PCR are needed to clarify the finding of Bartonella PCR-positive individuals lacking clinical symptoms.



While the abstract above doesn’t state this, the results section in the full study states of the 89 veterinary personnel from different regions of Spain:

A high percentage of the participants reported having chronic/ persistent non-specific symptoms such as headache, insomnia, fatigue or memory problems.

Veterinarians & those working with animals are especially at risk for Bartonella.  Spread the word.

More on Bartonella:




Impact of Pre-operative Antimicrobial Treatment on Microbiological Findings From Endocardial Specimens in Infective Endocarditis

2019 Jan 24. doi: 10.1007/s10096-018-03451-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Impact of pre-operative antimicrobial treatment on microbiological findings from endocardial specimens in infective endocarditis.


Treatment of infective endocarditis (IE) should be initiated promptly. This might hamper the chances to identify the causative organism in blood cultures. Microbiological sampling of infected valve in patients undergoing surgery might identify the causative organism. The impact of pre-operative antimicrobial treatment on the yield of valve samples is not known. This study evaluated the impact of the duration of the pre-operative antibiotic treatment on valve culture and 16S rRNA PCR findings from resected endocardial samples. Patients meeting the modified Duke criteria of definite or possible IE and undergoing valve surgery due to IE during 2011-2016 were included from Southern Finland. Eighty-seven patients were included.

In patients with shorter than 2 weeks of pre-operative antimicrobial treatment, PCR was positive in 91% (n = 42/46) and valve culture in 41% (n = 19/46) of cases. However, in patients who had 2 weeks or longer therapy before operation, PCR was positive in 53% (n = 18/34) and all valve cultures were negative. In 14% of patients, PCR had a diagnostic impact. In blood-culture negative cases (n = 13), PCR could detect the causative organism in ten patients (77%). These included five cases of Bartonella quintana, one Tropheryma whipplei, and one Coxiella burnetii. Long pre-operative antimicrobial treatment was shown to have a negative impact on microbiological tests done on resected endocardial material. After 2 weeks of therapy, all valve cultures were negative, but PCR was positive in half of the cases. PCR aided in diagnostic work-up, especially in blood culture negative cases.



The dilemma “to treat or not to treat” because of hampered ability to subsequently test for organisms is real; however, the risk for not treating is potentially death.

The big point for Lyme/MSIDS patients; however, is the fact they found Bartonella and Coxiella burnettii, also known as Q-fever in patients with infective carditis.  Those working with farm animals are at greater risk through inhalation or ingestion of soil or animal waste particles; however, ticks do transmit it.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include high fever, headache, sore throat, malaise, nausea, diarrhea, chest pain, nonproductive cough, pneumonia, and hepatitis. Neurological manifestations occur in about one percent of patients and could develop into meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and/or peripheral neuropathy. Endocarditis, infection of the heart valves, is the most serious manifestation. However, it is usually found in patients with preexisting valvular disease. Unfortunately, the mortality rate is increasingly high, currently at 65 percent.

Go here for a nifty table with the various coinfections, vectors, causative agent, endemic area, and symptoms:

You will note that the brown dog tick, Rocky Mountain Wood tick, and the Lone Star Tick are all vectors and Q-fever is endemic throughout the U.S.  Treatment is doxycycline.  This document states endocarditis caused by Q fever may be chronic.  Interestingly, even as far back as the 30’s, Q fever was noted to have properties of both viruses and rickettsiae. This document states Q fever may occur in patients without any animal contact due to it’s ability to be spread by wind.  The same document states human Q fever cases have occurred in the following:

  • An OB after an abortion on an infected woman
  • transplacental transmission
  • autopsies
  • intradermal inoculation
  • blood transfusion
  • tick bite
  • sexually in infected mice
  • possibly from infected dogs
  • infected cats

The real kicker on that last one was the 1984 report of 13 people who developed febrile respiratory disease by playing poker in a room where a cat had delivered kittens.  Abstract here:

Kosatsky T. Household outbreak of Q-fever pneumonia related to a parturient cat. Lancet. 1984;ii:1447–1449. [PubMed]

Symptoms were:

  • bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • fever
  • palatal petechiae (red or purple spots on mouth palate)
  • rapidly enlarging bilateral pulmonary infiltrates (fluid in both lungs)






Study Shows Ticks PCR Positive for Bartonella and Two Strains of Borrelia

Regional prevalences of Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia bissettiae, and Bartonella henselae in Ixodes affinis, Ixodes pacificus and Ixodes scapularis in the USA


The objective of this work was to determine the prevalence of Borrelia and Bartonella species in Ixodes spp. ticks collected from 16 USA states. Genus PCR amplification and sequence analysis of Bartonella and Borrelia16SsRNA-23SsRNA intergenic regions were performed on DNA extracted from 929 questing adult ticks (671 Ixodes scapularis, 155 Ixodes affinis, and 103 Ixodes pacificus).

Overall, 129/929 (13.9%) Ixodes ticks were PCR positive for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, 48/929 (5.1%) for B. bissettiae whereas 23/929 (2.5%) were PCR positive for a Bartonella henselae. Borrelia bissettiae or B. burgdorferi s.s. and B. henselae co-infections were found in I. affinis from North Carolina at a rate of 4.5%; in a single I. scapularis from Minnesota, but not in I. pacificus. For both bacterial genera, PCR positive rates were highly variable depending on geographic location and tick species, with Ixodes affinis (n = 155) collected from North Carolina, being the tick species with the highest prevalence’s for both Borrelia spp. (63.2%) and B. henselae (10.3%). Based on the results of this and other published studies, improved understanding of the enzootic cycle, transmission dynamics, and vector competence of Ixodes species (especially I. affinis) for transmission of Borrelia spp. and B. henselae should be a public health research priority.



One of the most understated studies yet.  Research on transmission and vector competence is screaming to be done – especially for Bartonella as mainstream medicine still thinks it’s a simple disease caused by the scratch of a cat that only affects immunocompromised people.  They also insist the black-legged tick is the sole perp for Lyme.  Both of these tenets are being shattered on a daily basis.  A 1.5-year-old girl who was seen in hospital for the sparing use of her left arm when crawling.  Tested positively for Bartonella henselae.  Case of a 53-year-old healthy man, presenting with confusion.  Serology confirmed Bartonella henselae infection.  Healthy 10 year old girl had coexisting transverse myelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) related to infection with Bartonella henselae.  A 3-year-old female with a recent history of typical CSD involving lymph nodes who developed osteomyelitis of the skull.  Overall, 1,265 ticks consisting of 27 tick species belonging to four genera were collected.  Of the 18 tick species tested, 15 species (83%) were positive for Bbsl and, of these infected ticks, 6 species bite humans.

Two ticks species known to be transmitters of disease (I. affinis and I. minor) were transported into Canada and are actually more important vectors of Bbsl in the southeastern U.S. than the blacklegged tick.






UH Study Shows Hawaii Kids More Vulnerable to Bartonella

Cat scratch disease: It’s rare, but a UH study says Hawaii kids are more vulnerable

Cat scratch disease: It’s rare, but a UH study says Hawaii kids are more vulnerable
UH and Kapiolani doctors are warning about cat scratch disease.

Symptoms include fever and swollen lymph nodes. UH and Kapiolani Medical Center doctors studied 18 children who got severe reactions.

“These were children who had infections of their spleen, liver, meningitis, encephalitis. involvement of their eye. Some even developed bone lesions so it was a significant illness in these children,” said Dr. Jessica Kosut, a pediatric hospitalist.

Sarah Pacheco got a mild form of the illness years ago when her new kitten, Kipling, scratched her arm.

“I had just gotten a kitten and they play and you are bound to get scratched, but I noticed I lost my voice completely,” she said.

Cat scratch disease is still rare. Doctors think Hawaii’s humid climate, outdoor lifestyle and higher feral cat population could be partly to blame.

“I don’t think it’s cats that are in people’s homes, but it can be, but a couple of the children that we took care of described playing with cats that were out in the neighborhood and one child was hiding cats in his closet to keep them a secret from his mother,” said Dr. Kosut.

Doctors say cat scratch disease is treatable. Just make sure your cat doesn’t have fleas and doesn’t play with feral cats, and you don’t have to kick out your kitty.

“I’m definitely a fan of cats and I wouldn’t say that this should discourage anyone from getting cats or adopting cats. I just want providers to be aware of it,” said Dr. Johnson.

Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) or Bartonella IS NOT RARE!  And while some develop fever and swollen lymph nodes, it presents in a million different ways – some purely psychological.
And cats aren’t the only things transmitting it.
Mode of Transmission: Arthropod vectors including fleas and flea feces, biting flies such as sand flies and horn flies, the human body louse, mosquitoes, and ticks; through bites and scratches of reservoir hosts; and potentially from needles and syringes in the drug addicted. Needle stick transmission to veterinarians has been reported. There is documentation that cats have received it through blood transfusion. 3.2% of blood donors in Brazil were found to carry Bartonella in their blood. Bartonella DNA has been found in dust mites. Those with arthropod exposure have an increased risk, as well as those working and living with pets that have arthropod exposure. 28% of veterinarians tested positively for Bartonella compared with 0% of controls. About half of all cats may be infected with Bartonella – as high as 80% in feral cats and near 40% of domestic cats. In various studies dogs have close to a 50% rate as well. Evidence now suggests it may be transmitted congenitally from mother to child – potentially leading to birth defects.

I’m glad they mentioned:
  • infections of their spleen & liver
  • meningitis
  • encephalitis
  • involvement of the eye
  • bone lesions
Because, these are the things crossing my desk on a daily basis.
Bartonella is prolific, tenacious, and can cause severe illness, and many LLMD’s consider it a major coinfection of Lyme.
To read more about the organism and successful treatments:
For more:  
  • Heart involvement –
  • Eye involvement –
  • Neurological involvement –  A table within this article states Bart can cause hallucinations.
  • Skull & bone infections  Besides the case report of a woman with osteomyelitis, the study states a literature review identified 51 other cases of osteomyelitis associated with cat scratch disease, 14 of those confirmed by PCR.
  • Thoracic involvement –
  • Cancer

  • Chronic abdominal pain, esophageal heartburn, purpuric skin rash, mesenteric adenitis (swollen lymph nodes inside the abdomen)

  • Granulomas & bony lesions

  • Rheumatological involvement –   Please note the joint popping with each articulation and continual joint subluxation issue.

  • Can turn off antibodies to Lyme, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and even itself  Dr. Shaller feels that due to this, Bartonella should be considered in ALL initial consults.

I’m going to stop at this point as I’m growing weary.  The question begs to be asked:
Does this look rare to you?



From Cat Scratch Disease to Bartonellosis

From Cat Scratch Disease to Bartonellosis

Bartonellosis is a term used to encompass all infections caused by pathogenic Bartonella species. Bartonella are emerging, flea-borne bacteria that are highly adapted to living in mammalian hosts and are implicated in a wide spectrum of diseases in humans and animals.

Pathogenic Bartonella Found For the 1st Time in European Rats

2019 Jan 9. doi: 10.1002/ps.5323. [Epub ahead of print]

Norway and black rats in Europe: Potential reservoirs for zoonotic arthropod-borne pathogens?



Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and black rats (R. rattus) are known to be cosmopolitan reservoirs for zoonotic agents. Nevertheless only little is known about prevalence and distribution of arthropod-borne pathogens in rats from Europe. Therefore this survey was focused on the detection of arthropod-borne pathogens. Spleen-derived DNA samples were available from 528 Norway rats and from 74 black rats collected in several European countries. Further, these samples were processed by PCR for the detection of zoonotic pathogens such as Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (CNM), Babesia spp. and Bartonella spp. eventually followed by sequencing.


Babesia spp. was not detected. Four Norway rat samples were positive for A. phagocytophilum DNA and two for CNM. In 50 rat samples Bartonella spp. DNA was detected (8.1%; 95% CI: 6.2-10.61). Whereas B. tribocorum (n=45) and B. grahamii (n=1) were exclusively carried in Norway rats from Central Europe (Belgium, Germany), B. coopersplainsensis (n=4) was only detected in black rats from southern European countries (Spain, Italy).


Pathogenic Bartonella spp. DNA was found in black and Norway rats from Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium for the first time. Bartonellae were found focally in zoos suggesting Norway rats as possible reservoir for B. tribocorum and black rats for B. coopersplainsensis in Europe. These findings should raise awareness of pathogenic Bartonella spp. in Norway rats especially in terms of pest management control in zoos. Norway and black rats seem not to be predominantly involved in the life cycle of the other examined arthropod-borne pathogens in Europe.


More on Bartonella: