Bartonella Species

Bartonella organisms have been detected in ticks, fleas, chiggers, dogs, cats, sheep keds, mice, rats, cattle, voles, pigs, human wombs, human body louse, puma, vole ear mites, lice, flies, Ixodes ticks- I. affinis, Ixodes ticks, sand flies, bobcats, whales, elk, rabbits, animal saliva, mountain lions, tree swallows, human saliva, red ants, dust mites, triatominae bugs (kissing bugs), dolphins, bush rats, striped skunks, raccoons, donkeys, mountain lions, bats, fruit bats, leeches, bed bugs, purple martins, mosquitoes, mongoose, monkeys, poultry red (chicken) mites, Cricetidae rodents, woylies, bandicoots, mardos, deer, four-striped mice, squirrels, coyotes, red fox, grey fox, Swedish moose, Tsushima leopard cats, bird blow fly larva, gerbil fleas, golden jackals, Libyan birds, rock hyraxes, southern white-breasted hedgehogs, eastern bluebirds, porpoises, red squirrels, Cairo spiny mice, Tristram's jirds, house mice, bat flies and possibly spiders.

Research is needed to determine if there are additional carriers, transmitters and more unidentified species of Bartonella. Physicians need to be trained to consider and look for Bartonella infections in their patients.

Additionally, more accurate tests must be developed to detect Bartonella species in both animals and humans.

Recent Studies

July 2020- Imaging analysis of Bartonella species in the skin using single‐photon and multi‐photon (second harmonic generation) laser scanning microscopy- (Check out photos too)

December 2019- Essential Oils with High Activity against Stationary Phase Bartonella henselae

Brief history of Bartonella- by Galaxy Diagnostics (Lab in North Carolina)

April 2019- Human Bartonellosis: An Underappreciated Public Health Problem?

April 2019- QUOTE- "We found that a significant number of drugs have better activity than the current drugs used to treat bartonellosis. These include seven azole drugs (sulconazole, econazole, oxiconazole, butoconazole, clotrimazole, bifonazole, and miconazole), daptomycin, methylene blue, amifostine (Ethyol), Lopinavir/ritonavir, colistin, amikacin, nitroxoline, berberine, verteporfin, pentamidine, aprepitant, clinafloxacin, and clofoctol." Source- Identification of FDA-Approved Drugs with Activity against Stationary Phase Bartonella henselae


A Serious Disease With

Potentially Serious Consequences

Lucy Barnes

Original Article Published- November 2008

Updated Online- May 2015, December 2015, July 2016, December 2016, January 2019

Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana, sometimes referred to as “cat-scratch” and “trench” or "shin bone" fever respectively, are two types of intracellular gram negative bacteria which can cause severe, chronic health issues and sudden death. Maryland residents are at high risk for exposure to various Bartonella bacteria.

Possible signs and symptoms- Typically a gradual onset of symptoms. Central nervous system symptoms (muscle twitches, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, antisocial behavior, bone pain, tremors, irritability and seizures) are often more prominent and severe than other symptoms.

Fatigue, dizziness, vasculitis, stiff legs, immune system dysfunction, pain in feet (especially bottoms of feet- worse early in the morning), sweats, restlessness, myalgias, migrating pain (can be extreme) in and around joints, heart attacks, heart valve problems, endocarditis (mortality 25%), cardiomegaly, strokes, skin rashes (including "stretch mark" like rashes that may or may not itch or burn), skin tags, burning and crawling sensations.

(Rash Pictures Here)

Aseptic meningitis, encephalopathy, fever (often low-grade), panic attacks, liver or spleen abnormalities, low-grade fever, abscesses, hot flashes, muscle cramps, confusion, abdominal pain, hepatitis, seizures (mild to severe), numbness in hands, rage, depression, misophonia, difficulty walking, facial numbness, wandering (usually unilateral) joint pain, urinary disorders, or arthritis can be present.

Tender sub-cutaneous nodules may appear along the outer thigh, triceps shins and other areas of the extremities.

Some patients experience acute and relapsing symptom patterns, painful headaches, lymphadenopathy, GI symptoms (gastritis, abdominal pain), cognitive dysfunction, joint swelling, CNS lesions, red splotches or slightly raised red spots on skin, lymph node swelling, skin manifestations (acne, stretch marks, subcutaneous nodules) and spider veins.

Patients may also experience bone pain- especially in shins (Bartonella quintana, aka shin bone fever) and along the rib cage, chest wall pain, ice-pick pain sensations in head, mild sore throat, bladder inflammation or IC, softening of bone, bone infections, radiculitis, difficulty swallowing, transverse myelitis, polyneuropathy, slurred speech, elevated liver enzymes, gall bladder dysfunction, crusty scalp, respiratory complications, personality disorders, bipolar disorder and irregular pulse.

Bartonella can cause an array of eye related problems such as raccoon eyes (dark circles under/around eyes), dry eyes, conjunctivitis, neuroretinitis and a distortion or loss of vision.

Bartonella symptoms may wax and wane or appear to be in remission. Symptoms may return quickly if treatment is discontinued too soon. See the "Ask The Experts" 2016 article with more Bartonella symptoms and photos.

If not treated properly in the early stages, Bartonella can become a disabling or life-threatening condition that can be expensive and difficult to treat. Bartonella has been misdiagnosed or mistaken for vasculitis, breast cancer, hepatitis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, splenic lymphoma and a variety of neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

People infected with Bartonella may also be coinfected with one or more of the 300 plus known Lyme strains, viruses and/or additional tick or vector borne diseases.

Bartonella Rash Photos- Click Here


Treat the patient, not the test!


Testing Information

*** False negative tests can miss a Bartonella diagnosis, which can lead to disability or death.

Galaxy Lab- Galaxy Lab tests for at least 17 species of Bartonella. They also test for at least 30 species of Ehrlichia, Rickettsia (spotted fevers) and Babesia. See which species are tested for each genus HERE.

IGeneX- New Bartonella Multi-Species Western Blot Test (October 2018)- QUOTE- "The Bartonella Multi-Species Western blot detects Bartonella genus-specific IgM and IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma. Also, it will identify and differentiate B. henselae, B. vinsonii, B. quintana and B. elizabethae. The Bartonella IgXSpot will detect specific T-cell responses very early - soon after the onset of infection - when antibodies to the organisms are not yet detectable, as well as late in the disease when the levels of antibodies can be very low. It is also useful in patients who are immunosuppressed or who have an immunoglobulin deficiency. Hence, this assay is especially useful for seronegative patients."

Quest Diagnostics: Bartonella Species Antibody (IGG, IGM) with Reflex to Titers- Code 34251x

Treatment Information

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment protocol for Bartonella infections. Doxycycline, rifampin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, tetracycline, clarithromycin, azithromycin or combinations of antibiotics have been used with varying degrees of success. Extended tetreatment or retreatment is often necessary in long standing cases.

To help locate a treating doctor in your area, please go to

Dr. Burrascano's Treatment Guidelines- Please read the guidelines in full. They can be located by clicking here.

QUOTE- "The drug of choice to treat BLO is levofloxacin. Levofloxacin is usually never used for Lyme or Babesia, so many patients who have tick-borne diseases, and who have been treated for them but remain ill, may in fact be infected with BLO.

Treatment consist of 500 mg daily (may be adjusted based on body weight) for at least one month. Treat for three months or longer in the more ill patient. It has been suggested that levofloxacin may be more effective in treating this infection if a proton pump inhibitor is added in standard doses.

Another subtlety is that certain antibiotic combinations seem to inhibit the action of levofloxacin, while others seem to be neutral. I advise against using an erythromycin-like drug, as clinically such patients do poorly. On the other hand, combinations with cephalosporins, penicillins and tetracyclines are okay.

Alternatives to levofloxacin include rifampin, gentamicin and possibly streptomycin. A very recent article suggests that prior use of quinine-like drugs including atovaquone (Mepron, Malarone) may render Levaquin less effective. Therefore, in a co-infected patient, treat the BLO before you address Babesia species."

UPDATE October 2018- Quote from Bartonella researcher- "It is increasingly obvious that Bartonella can induce enough vascular inflammation in a subset of patients that a pathologist will call the lesions "vasculitis". In most instances, subtle vascular injury is occurring, but a biopsy would not support a pathological diagnosis of vasculitis- lack of sensitivity." Source

Dr. Joseph Burrascano's

Guidelines Here

Special note- Bartonella bacteremia has been detected in 89% beef cattle tested from Oklahoma and 17% of dairy cattle from California. Source

Additionally, a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University reported finding one or more species of bartonella in 82.4% of cattle they tested.

QUOTE- "Similarly, B. bovis infection rates from cattle from the United States varied across the regions studied, being as high as 82.4% in North Carolina (38) and California (81 to 96%) (6) and less pronounced in Georgia (47%) (31)." Source Chang, C.-C., B. B. Chomel, R. W. Kasten, R. Heller, K. M. Kocan, H. Ueno, K. Yamamoto, V. C. Bleich, B. J. Gonzales, P. K. Swift, W. M. Boyce, S. S. Jang, H.-J. Boulouis, and Y. Piemont. Isolation of Bartonella spp. from wild cervids, bovids and domestic cattle in North America. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., in press.

QUOTE- "Recently, Bartonella spp. have been isolated from 5 of 12 (42%) Oklahoma cattle, from 58 of 116 (50%) California cattle, and from 39 of 42 (93%) California mule deer (5). In one California beef herd, Bartonella was isolated from 25 of 26 bulls (96%) and 22 of 27 (82%) cows..." Source

UPDATE- July 2016- Note from Lyme treating ophthalmologist: "I usually see Bartonella as the cause of the most severe eye issues. Make sure to take lutein and zeaxanthin and fish oil to further protect your eyes." Zeaxanthin and lutein information- click here.

More Information Below

Bartonella Study

Neurological & Immunological Dysfunction


Lyme and Bartonellosis


Galaxy Lab Presents

Understanding Bartonella

Free medical education webinar



Click Here for Article

Additional Info & Articles

Dr. James Schaller's Checklist for Bartonella

For free online book, click here


Bartonella Educational Youtube Video


Edward Breitschwerdt, DVM- 2014


National Veterinarian Laboratory's Map


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Maryland Lyme does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.

Last Updated- July 2020

Lucy Barnes