Bartonella henselae (Cat Scratch Fever), Bartonella quintana (Trench Fever) and Bartonella bacilliformis are known to cause infection in domestic and farm animals in Australia. We are also seeing Bartonella in humans who also carry Borrelia infections and it is regarded as an emerging infectious disease. One of the world's Bartonella experts Professor Ed Breitschwerd suggests there are approximately 20 species of Bartonella associated with animal or human bacteremic infections.
Bartonella infections can cause neuropsychiatric issues such as obsessions, compulsions, anxiety, terror, panic and hallucinations. Visible signs that may indicate Bartonellosis include stretch marks on the back or biceps in men, broken capillaries on the thighs and legs, varicose veins, puffy hands and feet, obesity and pitting oedema. Bartonella is known to cause burning or electrical sensations in the brain, spine and skin of infected patients. During the acute phase of an infection you can often see red scratch marks on the skin of the arms, chest and back which move
Laboratory testing for Bartonella is somewhat difficult as Bartonella is an immune suppressing infection which hides in cells and deep within tissues so it is often impossible to use serology for diagnosis. Occasionally, mainstream labs in Australia will find a positive IgG (IgM and PCR are not performed) and so diagnosis must also be based on clinical presentation and findings.
Bartonella is commonly transmitted to humans from farm animals and domestic animals like dogs, cats and guinea pigs by vectors such as ticks, lice and fleas. Like Borrelia, it is thought that vertical transmission in utero is possible. If there has been a laboratory or clinical diagnosis of Borrelia, then Bartonella must always be considered.