Bartonella: Everything you need to know about the bacterium maintained by fleas, ticks and other biting insects…

According to a new research done at North Carolina State
University, a bacterium associated with cat scratch fever and transmitted by
fleas may play a role in human rheumatoid illnesses, such as arthritis.
Bartonella is a bacterium that is maintained in nature by
fleas, ticks and other biting insects. It can be transmitted to humans both by
these parasites as well as by bites or scratches from infected cats and dogs.
The most commonly known Bartonella-related illness is cat scratch disease,
caused by B. henselae, a species of Bartonella that can be carried in a cat’s
blood for months to years (
Blood samples from 296 patients were tested to see if there
was evidence of the Bartonella infection. These patients had been previously
diagnosed with conditions ranging from Lyme disease to arthritis to chronic
Out of the 296 patients tested, 62 percent had the
Bartonella antibodies, which supported the evidence that they had prior
exposure to these bacteria. Bacterial DNA was found in 41 percent of patient
samples, allowing investigators to narrow down the species of Bartonella
present in patients’ bodies.
“Based upon this one study we can’t definitively say that a
subset of rheumatoid illnesses have an infectious origin,” said Dr. Ed
Breitschwerdt, professor of internal medicine at NC State’s College of
Veterinary Medicine. “However, our results this far do implicate Bartonella as
a factor in at least some cases. If the link between Bartonella and rheumatoid
illnesses is valid, it may also open up more directed treatment options for
patients with rheumatoid illnesses.”
If your feline friend is having any health issues and you
need to have them checked out by a veterinarian, please call one of the Bregman
Vet Hospitals to schedule an appointment.

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