What are the Symptoms of Bartonella?

Bartonella is a type of bacteria that can infect humans, leading to various diseases collectively known as bartonelloses. Bartonella infections can manifest with different symptoms depending on the specific species of Bartonella and the individual’s immune system. Common symptoms and manifestations of Bartonella infections may include:

  1. Fever: Many Bartonella infections can cause fever, often with intermittent spikes.
  2. Fatigue: People with Bartonella infections may experience persistent fatigue and malaise.
  3. Swollen Lymph Nodes: Enlarged and tender lymph nodes, known as lymphadenopathy, can occur in various parts of the body.
  4. Skin Lesions: Some Bartonella species can cause skin lesions, such as:
    • Cat-Scratch Disease: This is one of the most well-known Bartonella infections, often characterized by a papule or pustule at the site of a cat scratch or bite, along with regional lymph node swelling.
    • Bacillary Angiomatosis: Raised, red or purplish nodules on the skin that may resemble blood vessels.
    • Bartonellosis: Widespread rash, often resembling red streaks or scratch marks, typically in people with compromised immune systems.
  5. Muscle and Joint Pain: Muscle and joint pain, sometimes resembling arthritis, can occur.
  6. Headache: Recurrent or persistent headaches are possible.
  7. Neurological Symptoms: In some cases, Bartonella infections can lead to neurological symptoms, including neuropathy, memory problems, and cognitive changes.
  8. Enlarged Spleen or Liver: Hepatosplenomegaly, or enlargement of the spleen or liver, may be present in some individuals.
  9. Eye Symptoms: Some Bartonella species can cause eye-related symptoms, including uveitis, redness, and visual disturbances.
  10. Respiratory Symptoms: In rare cases, Bartonella infections can lead to respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath.

It’s important to note that Bartonella infections are not always symptomatic, and some people may carry the bacteria without displaying noticeable symptoms. The severity and specific symptoms of Bartonella infections can vary based on the species of Bartonella involved, the individual’s immune status, and other factors.

Bartonella infections are typically diagnosed through clinical evaluation, medical history, and sometimes specific laboratory tests, such as serologic testing. Treatment of Bartonella infections usually involves antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional, tailored to the specific species of Bartonella and the individual’s clinical presentation. If you suspect a Bartonella infection or experience any concerning symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and treatment.