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Title: Bartonellosis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: ICD-10 Chapter I: Certain infectious and parasitic diseases, Self-experimentation in medicine, Bacterial diseases, Moth fly, Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction
Collection: Bacterial Diseases
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Classification and external resources
ICD-10 A44
ICD-9-CM 088.0
DiseasesDB 1249
eMedicine med/212
MeSH D001474

Bartonellosis is an infectious disease produced by bacteria of the genus Bartonella.[1] Bartonella species cause diseases such as Carrión´s disease, trench fever, cat-scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis, peliosis hepatis, chronic bacteremia, endocarditis, chronic lymphadenopathy, and neurological disorders.[2]


  • Microbiology 1
  • History of discovery 2
    • Carrión's disease 2.1
    • CSD 2.2
    • Trench fever 2.3
  • Epidemiology 3
  • Pathophysiology 4
  • Clinical manifestations 5
    • Carrión's disease 5.1
    • Cat-scratch disease 5.2
    • Bacillary angiomatosis 5.3
    • Peliosis hepatis 5.4
    • Trench fever 5.5
  • Treatment 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Members of the genus Bartonella are facultative intracellular bacteria, alpha 2 subgroup Proteobacteria. The genus comprises:

Bartonella species Reservoir Disease
Bartonella bacilliformis human Carrion´s disease/verruga Peruana
Bartonella quintana human Trench fever, bacteremia, bacillary angiomatosis, endocarditis
Bartonella henselae cats Cat-scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis, bacteremia, endocarditis
Bartonella elizabethae rats Endocarditis
Bartonella grahamii Retinitis
Bartonella vinsoni dogs Endocarditis], bacteremia
Bartonella washonsis rodents Myocarditis
Bartonella clarridgiae cats Bacteremia
Bartonella rochalimae human Carrion´s disease-like syndrome

History of discovery

Carrión's disease

The disease was named after medical student Daniel Alcides Carrión from Cerro de Pasco, Peru. Carrión described the disease after being inoculated at his request with the pus of a skin lesion from patient Carmen Paredes in 1885 by Doctor Evaristo M. Chávez, a close friend and coworker in Dos de Mayo National Hospital. Carrión developed the disease three weeks after the inoculation and kept a meticulous record of clinical symptoms and signs until the disease rendered him incapable of the task and he died at age 28 several weeks later—October 5, 1885. Carrión proved that Oroya fever and verruga Peruana were two stages of the same disease, and not two different diseases as was thought at the time. Subsequently, 23 subspecies of Bartonella were discovered. His work did not result in a cure immediately, but his research started the process. Peru has named October 5 as "Peruvian Medicine Day" in his honor.

Peruvian microbiologist Alberto Barton discovered the causative bacterium in 1905, but his results were not published until 1909. Barton originally identified them as "endoglobular" structures, bacteria living inside red blood cells. Until 1993, the Bartonella genus contained only one species; 23 are now identified species, all of them within the family Bartonellaceae.[3]


In 1988, English et al. [4] isolated and cultured a bacterium that was named Afipia felis in 1992 after the team at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology that discovered it. This agent was considered the etiologic agent of Cat-scratch Disease (CSD) but further studies failed to support this conclusion. Serologic studies associated CSD with Bartonella henselae, reported in 1992. In 1993, Dolan [5] isolated Rochalimae henselae (now called Bartonella henselae) from lymph nodes of patients with CSD.

Bartonella spp. are commonly treated with antibiotics including azithromycin, based on a single small randomized clinical trial. Treatment may take up to one year to completely eliminate the disease. CSD often resolves spontaneously without treatment.[6]

Trench fever

Detailed descriptions of the disease were reported in soldiers during the First World War. It is also known as five-day fever, quintan fever, Wolhinie fever, and urban trench fever, because it occurs in homeless people and alcoholics .[7]


Carrión's disease, or Oroya fever, or Peruvian wart is a rare infectious disease found only in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.[8] It is endemic in some areas of Peru,[9] is caused by infection with the bacterium Bartonella bacilliformis, and transmitted by sandflies of genus Lutzomyia.

Cat scratch disease occurs worldwide. Cats are the main reservoir of Bartonella henselae (etiologic agent), and the bacterium is transmitted to cats by the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis.[10] Infection in cats is very common with a prevalence estimated between 40-60%, younger cats being more commonly infective. Cats usually become immune to the infection, while dogs may be very symptomatic. Humans may also acquire it through flea or tick bites from infected dogs, cats, coyotes, and foxes.

Trench fever, produced by Bartonella quintana infection, is transmitted by the human body louse Pediculus humanus corporis. Humans are the only known reservoir.[11] Thorough washing of clothing may help to interrupt the transmission of infection.

A possible role for ticks in transmission of Bartonella species remains to be elucidated; in November 2011, Bartonella rochalimae, B. quintana, and B. elizabethae DNA was first reported in Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Dermacentor nitens ticks in Peru.[12]


In mammals, each Bartonella species is highly adapted to its reservoir host as the result of intracellular parasitism and can persist in the bloodstream of the host. Intraerythrocytic parasitism is only observed in the acute phase of Carrión´s disease. Bartonella species also have a tropism for endothelial cells, observed in the chronic phase of Carrión´s disease (also known as verruga Peruana) and bacillary angiomatosis. Pathological response can vary with the immune status of the host. Infection with B. henselae can result in a focal suppurative reaction (CSD in immunocompetent patients), a multifocal angioproliferative response (bacillary angiomatosis in immunocompromised patients), endocarditis, or meningitis.

Clinical manifestations

Carrión's disease

Patients can develop two clinical phases: an acute septic phase and a chronic eruptive phase associated with skin lesions.[13] In the acute phase (also known as Oroya fever or fiebre de la Oroya), B. bacilliformis infection is a sudden, potentially life-threatening infection associated with high fever and decreased levels of circulating red blood cells (i.e., hemolytic anemia)and transient immunosuppression. B. bacilliformis is considered the most deadly species to date, with a death rate of up to 90% during the acute phase, which typically lasts two to four weeks. Peripheral blood smears show anisomacrocytosis with many bacilli adherent to red blood cells. Thrombocytopenia is also seen and can be very severe. Neurologic manifestations (neurobartonellosis) are altered mental status, agitation, or even coma, ataxia, spinal meningitis, or paralysis. It is seen in 20% of patients with acute infection, in which the prognosis is very guarded with an about 50% mortality. The most feared complication is overwhelming infection mainly by Enterobacteriaceae, particularly Salmonella (both S. typhi and S. non-typhi, as well as reactivation of toxoplasmosis and other opportunistic infections .

The chronic manifestation consists of a benign skin eruption with raised, reddish-purple nodules (angiomatous tumours). The bacterium can be seen microscopically, if a skin biopsy is silver stained (the Warthin–Starry method).

Cat-scratch disease

Cat-scratch disease is due to an infection by B. henselae and manifests as gradual regional lymph nodes enlargement (axilla, groin, neck) which may last 2–3 months or longer and a distal scratch and/or red-brown skin papule (not always seen at the time of the disease). The enlarged lymph node is painful and tender. The infection is self-limited.[14] The lymph nodes may suppurate, and most patients can remain afebrile or asymptomatic. Other presentations include fever (particularly in children), Parinaud's oculoglandular syndrome, encephalopathy, and neuroretinitis.[15][16]

B. henselae can be associated with bacteremia, bacillary angiomatosis, and peliosis hepatis in HIV patients, and bacteremia and endocarditis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients.[17] Symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, fever, memory loss, disorientation, insomnia, and loss of coordination. The bacteria block the normal immune response by suppressing the NF-κB apoptosis pathway.[18] Disease progression may be accelerated if the host is subsequently infected by an immune-suppressing virus such as Epstein Barr virus.[19]

Bacillary angiomatosis

B. henselae and B. quintana can cause bacillary angiomatosis, a

  • Oroya fever
  • Bartonella bacilliformisHuman Bartonellosis caused by

External links

  1. ^ Maguiña C, Gotuzzo E (March 2000). "Bartonellosis. New and old". Infect. Dis. Clin. North Am. 14 (1): 1–22, vii.  
  2. ^ Maurin M, Birtles R, Raoult D (July 1997). "Current knowledge of Bartonella species". Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 16 (7): 487–506.  
  3. ^ Zeaiter Z, Liang Z, Raoult D (2002). "Genetic classification and differentiation of Bartonella species based on comparison of partial ftsZ gene sequences". J. Clin. Microbiol. 40 (10): 3641–7.  
  4. ^ English CK, Wear DJ, Margileth AM, Lissner CR, Walsh GP (March 1988). "Cat-scratch disease. Isolation and culture of the bacterial agent". JAMA 259 (9): 1347–52.  
  5. ^ Dolan MJ, Wong MT, Regnery RL, et al. (March 1993). "Syndrome of Rochalimaea henselae adenitis suggesting cat scratch disease". Ann. Intern. Med. 118 (5): 331–6.  
  6. ^ Resto-Ruiz S, Burgess A, Anderson BE (June 2003). "The role of the host immune response in pathogenesis of Bartonella henselae". DNA Cell Biol. 22 (6): 431–40.  
  7. ^ Stein A, Raoult D (February 1995). "Return of trench fever". Lancet 345 (8947): 450–1.  
  8. ^ Maguina C, Garcia PJ, Gotuzzo E, Cordero L, Spach DH (September 2001). "Bartonellosis (Carrión's disease) in the modern era". Clin. Infect. Dis. 33 (6): 772–9.  
  9. ^ Maco V, Maguiña C, Tirado A, Maco V, Vidal JE (2004). "Carrion's disease (Bartonellosis bacilliformis) confirmed by histopathology in the High Forest of Peru". Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. Sao Paulo 46 (3): 171–4.  
  10. ^ Chomel BB, Kasten RW, Floyd-Hawkins K, et al. (August 1996). by the cat flea"Bartonella henselae"Experimental transmission of . J. Clin. Microbiol. 34 (8): 1952–6.  
  11. ^ Maurin M, Raoult D (July 1996). infections"Bartonella (Rochalimaea) quintana". Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9 (3): 273–92.  
  12. ^ Billeter Sarah A., Cáceres Abraham G., Gonzales-Hidalgo James, Luna-Caypo Deysi, Kosoy Michael Y. (2011). "Molecular Detection of Bartonella Species in Ticks From Peru". Journal of Medical Entomology 48 (6): 1257–1260.  
  13. ^ Maguiña Vargas, Ciro (2010). Bartonellosis o enfermedad de Carrión: Nuevos aspectos de una vieja enfermedad. Lima, Peru: UNMSM, Fondo Editorial.  
  14. ^ Margileth AM (1993). "Cat scratch disease". Adv Pediatr Infect Dis 8: 1–21.  
  15. ^ Bass JW, Vincent JM, Person DA (February 1997). "The expanding spectrum of Bartonella infections: II. Cat-scratch disease". Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 16 (2): 163–79.  
  16. ^ Breitschwerdt, EB. Bartonella sp. Bacteremia in Patients with Neurological and Neurocognitive Dysfunction. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY. Sept. 2008. 46(9): 2856–2861
  17. ^ Anderson BE, Neuman MA (April 1997). "Bartonella spp. as emerging human pathogens". Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 10 (2): 203–19.  
  18. ^ Faherty, CS. Staying alive: bacterial inhibition of apoptosis during infection. Trends in Microbiology (16:4). 175.
  19. ^ citation needed
  20. ^ Kemper CA, Lombard CM, Deresinski SC, Tompkins LS (August 1990). "Visceral bacillary epithelioid angiomatosis: possible manifestations of disseminated cat scratch disease in the immunocompromised host: a report of two cases". Am. J. Med. 89 (2): 216–22.  
  21. ^ Stoler MH, Bonfiglio TA, Steigbigel RT, Pereira M (November 1983). "An atypical subcutaneous infection associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome". Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 80 (5): 714–8.  
  22. ^ Perkocha LA, Geaghan SM, Yen TS, et al. (December 1990). "Clinical and pathological features of bacillary peliosis hepatis in association with human immunodeficiency virus infection". N. Engl. J. Med. 323 (23): 1581–6.  
  23. ^ Brouqui P, Lascola B, Roux V, Raoult D (January 1999). "Chronic Bartonella quintana bacteremia in homeless patients". N. Engl. J. Med. 340 (3): 184–9.  
  24. ^ Rolain JM, Brouqui P, Koehler JE, Maguina C, Dolan MJ, Raoult D (June 2004). "Recommendations for treatment of human infections caused by Bartonella species". Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 48 (6): 1921–33.  
  25. ^ Blanco JR, Raoult D (May 2005). "[Diseases produced by Bartonella]". Enferm. Infecc. Microbiol. Clin. (in Spanish) 23 (5): 313–9; quiz 320.  
  26. ^ Bass JW, Freitas BC, Freitas AD, et al. (June 1998). "Prospective randomized double blind placebo-controlled evaluation of azithromycin for treatment of cat-scratch disease". Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 17 (6): 447–52.  


While some authorities recommend the use of azithromycin,[26] it is difficult to gauge what, if any significant benefit, is afforded given the often self-limiting course in patients with intact immune function.

Disease Adults Children
Cat-scratch disease Azithromycin + Rifampin Unknown
Retinitis Doxycycline + rifampin unknown
Trench fever or chronic bacteremia by B. quintana Doxycycline + gentamicin unknown
Bacillary angiomatosis Erythromycin or doxycycline Erythromycin
Peliosis hepatis Erythromycin or doxycycline Erythromycin
Endocarditis Doxycycline + gentamicin + rifampin or ceftriaxone + gentamicin
Carrión´s disease (acute phase) Ciprofloxacin or chloramphenicol Chloramphenicol + beta-lactam
Carrión´s disease (chronic phase) Rifampin or macrolides Rifampin or macrolides

Treatment of infections caused by Bartonella species include:[24][25]


Trench fever, also known as five-day fever or quintan fever, is the initial manifestation of B. quintana infection. Clinical manifestations range from asymptomatic infection to severe illness. Classical presentations include a febrile illness of acute onset, headache, dizziness, and shin pain. Chronic infection manifestations include attacks of fever and aching in some cases and persistent bacteremia in soldiers and homeless people.[23]

Trench fever

[22] is the etiologic agent for peliosis hepatis, which is defined as a vascular proliferation of B. henselae

Peliosis hepatis

. lymph nodes, or spleen, liver, bone marrow, and subcutanous tumors. Lesions can affect verruga Peruana, hemangioma, granuloma pyogenic´s sarcoma, Kaposi Differential diagnoses include [21] Severe, progressive and disseminated disease may occur in HIV patients.[20]

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