Bartonella spp. infection has been reported in association with an expanding spectrum of symptoms and lesions. Among 296 patients examined by a rheumatologist, prevalence of antibodies against Bartonella henselae, B. koehlerae, or B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii (185 [62%]) and Bartonella spp. bacteremia (122 [41.1%]) was high. Conditions diagnosed before referral included Lyme disease (46.6%), arthralgia/arthritis (20.6%), chronic fatigue (19.6%), and fibromyalgia (6.1%). B. henselae bacteremia was significantly associated with prior referral to a neurologist, most often for blurred vision, subcortical neurologic deficits, or numbness in the extremities, whereas B. koehlerae bacteremia was associated with examination by an infectious disease physician. This cross-sectional study cannot establish a causal link between Bartonella spp. infection and the high frequency of neurologic symptoms, myalgia, joint pain, or progressive arthropathy in this population; however, the contribution of Bartonella spp. infection, if any, to these symptoms should be systematically investigated.
Bartonella: A New Frontier in Chronic Disease
New molecular test leads to surprising new research implicating Bartonella in rheumatological illness
By Edward B. Breitschwerdt DVM, CEO/CSO Galaxy Diagnostics & B. Robert Mozay
New research recently published in the journal of Emerging Infectious Disease supports an association between Bartonella infection and rheumatological symptoms. The researchers tested 296 immunocompetent patients for evidence of Bartonella infection. Bacteremia with one or more Bartonella species was found in (41 percent) of patients with a prior diagnosis of Lyme disease (47 percent), arthralgia/arthritis (21 percent), chronic fatigue (20 percent) and fibromyalgia (6 percent). This study follows two decades of medical case series research implicating Bartonella infection in chronic diseases affecting the joints, neurological and vascular systems.