Bartonella Antibody Profile Blood Test
Bartonella (formerly Rochalimaea) henselae has become firmly established as the primary etiologic agent for cat scratch disease (CSD). Bartonella quintana, known for some time as a cause of trench fever, is also associated with CSD and bacillary angiomatosis (BA). Both diseases frequently affect immunocompromised patients, particularly those infected with HIV-1. Although CSD is generally a self-limiting disease, it can be life-threatening.
Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana are small, rod-shaped, pleomorphic, gram-negative bacteria. The human body louse (Pediculus humanis) is the proposed vector for Bartonella quintana. No animal reservoir has been determined for Bartonella quintana. The domestic cat is believed to be both a reservoir and vector for Bartonella henselae. Cats may infect humans directly through scratches, bites, or licks, or indirectly through an arthropod vector. Humans remain the only host in which Bartonella infection leads to significant disease.
The sight of entry for Bartonella is through openings in the skin. Microscopically, Bartonella lesions appear as rounded aggregates that proliferate rapidly. These aggregates are masses of Bartonella bacteria. Warthin-Starry staining has shown that Bartonella organisms can be present within the vacuoles of endothelial cells, in macrophages, and between cells in areas of necrosis. Occasionally organisms are seen in the lumens of vessels. While cutaneous lesions are common, disseminated tissue infection by Bartonella has been seen in the blood, lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and heart.
Bartonella henselae has been associated with cat scratch disease (CSD), peliosis hepatitis (PH), and endocarditis. Bartonella quintana has been associated with trench fever, bacillary angiomatosis (BA), and endocarditis. Both can cause BA, a newly recognized syndrome. BA is a vascular proliferative disease usually involving the skin and regional lymph nodes.
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