Bartonellosis affects many Americans, and the first step to getting better is by receiving the proper diagnosis. Learn more about symptoms and treatment of bartonellosis, and order Bartonella testing from Galaxy Diagnostics.

Symptoms and Treatment

Bartonellosis is considered a relatively rare infectious disease, but it’s one that’s continuing to emerge as we understand more about it. Without the proper Bartonella testing, it can be nearly impossible to diagnose. There are three well-known subdivisions of bartonellosis: cat scratch disease, trench fever, and Carrion’s disease, however, scientists are finding more diseases that can be caused by Bartonella. These diseases can infect animals (both wild and domestic) and humans alike, and are transmitted by fleas, lice, sandflies, or other carriers.


Because there are several different diseases that can stem from Bartonella bacteria, there are variances between the symptoms.

Ongoing Symptoms: In addition to the above symptoms, the following are ongoing symptoms that may present themselves throughout the course of CSD.

  • Achiness
  • General malaise
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Less Common Symptoms

  • Lack or loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sore throat
  • Backache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills

These are all CSD symptoms that can present in people who are otherwise healthy. For anyone who has some form of compromised immune system, symptoms and side effects can become significantly worse. Inflammation in the brain, spleen, liver, or optic nerves have a higher risk of developing in immunocompromised patients, such as children or those with cancer. However, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) reports that “[these symptoms] are being increasingly reported in immunocompetent people, too.”

Ongoing Symptoms: There are a number of symptoms that continue to present during this time.

  • Sudden fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Back and/or leg pain
  • Overall weakness

For some patients, skin rashes, as well as swelling/enlargement of the spleen or liver are also known to occur.

Ongoing Symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Severe headache
  • Malaise
  • Lack or loss of appetite

Additional symptoms may include nausea, abdominal pain, inflammation of the spleen and the liver, to name a few. Some patients become more susceptible to developing other health complications; this becomes more common when patients don’t receive adequate treatment right away. One study showed that 70 percent of patients experienced complications, such as salmonellosis and toxoplasmosis. It’s suggested that visitors to South American regions that are endemic to Bartonella have a higher risk of mortality than those who are native to the area.


As serious as bartonellosis is, we’re extraordinarily fortunate to live in the time that we do. Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are instrumental in treating certain subdivisions of bartonellosis, and before the existence of this type of medicine, prognosis and mortality rates were abysmal. Modern medicine has revolutionized both our collective understanding and treatment of various forms of bartonellosis.

Cat Scratch Disease

For most people, CSD resolves itself within 2-4 months, without any treatment. There are certain complications and secondary diseases or disorders that can develop. However, it is still recommended to see a doctor if you think you have CSD or have tested positive for it. In certain cases, antibiotics can be recommended to help reduce the pain and symptoms of swollen lymph nodes.

Trench Fever

Antibiotics, such as doxycycline and tetracycline are most commonly prescribed. Certain cases will leave chloramphenicol as a more desirable treatment option, particularly for children under the age of nine, pregnant women, and those with severe liver malfunction or kidney disorders. At times, patients with severe trench fever will be given doxycycline with rifampin.

Carrion’s Disease

Chloramphenicol is the antibiotic of choice that works best when administered as soon as possible. Because of the number of secondary diseases that can develop from Carrion’s disease, other treatments may be recommended based on any further symptoms that present. Rifampin and streptomycin are antibiotics that are given to treat verruga peruana.

Acute and Chronic Phases

Bartonellosis can occur once for an individual, but for 10-20 percent of those who are infected, it can be chronic. Persistent infection can continue happening, particularly due to treatment failure, or if there was a delayed diagnosis. Additionally, bartonellosis can occur at the same time as other infections, such as Lyme disease. Finding the right diagnosis can make all the difference in your overall health outlook, and Galaxy Diagnostics can help.

Order Bartonella Testing From Galaxy Diagnostics

Knowing the symptoms of bartonellosis is essential to finding your way towards a correct diagnosis. That being said, the first step in treatment starts when you order Bartonella testing to get the answers you’re looking for. Even if you don’t test positive, you’re still able to rule something out, and narrow the results of what’s causing you illness and pain. Order your test kit from Galaxy Diagnostics today.