Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bartonella Infection Associated With Rheumatoid Illnesses in Humans

ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2012) — A bacterium historically associated with cat scratch fever and transmitted predominately by fleas may also play a role in human rheumatoid illnesses such as arthritis, according to new research from North Carolina State University.


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 knownBartonella-related illness is cat scratch disease, caused by B. henselae, a species of Bartonellathat can be carried in a cat's blood for months to years.

In collaboration with Dr. Robert Mozayeni, a rheumatologist based in Maryland, and Dr. Ricardo Maggi, a research assistant professor at NC State, Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt, professor of internal medicine at NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine and adjunct professor of medicine at Duke University, tested blood samples from 296 patients for evidence ofBartonella infection. The patients had previously been diagnosed with conditions ranging from Lyme disease to arthritis to chronic fatigue. Since rheumatic symptoms have sometimes been reported following cat scratch disease, the researchers wanted to see if these patients tested positive forB. henselae.

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