Bartonella spp. infection (bartonellosis) mimics many other conditions, including other chronic infections and a number of autoimmune diseases. If you are in a high-risk group such as animal health professionals, regular screening is recommended. If you are experiencing hard-to-diagnose chronic symptoms and are in a high-risk group such as animal workers, or have otherwise been exposed to fleas, lice or ticks, certain biting flies and animals, (e.g., cats, dogs, horses, rodents, etc.), you should consider testing for a systemic Bartonella infection. Symptoms are broad and may include rheumatologic (arthritis, chronic fatigue, joint or muscle pain), neurological (numbness, weakness, mental fogging), cardiovascular (endocarditis, myocarditis) conditions, vision issues, fever of unknown origin, weight loss, irritability, headaches or rashes. This zoonotic and vector-borne infection is primarily transmitted to humans by Ixodes ticks, but can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant or, possibly, the placenta during pregnancy. Clinical presentations may be more severe when co-infected with multiple tick-borne pathogens.

Tests Offered

Bartonella IFA Serology (IgG) determines the presence or absence of antibodies in serum of two of the most common Bartonella species: B. henselae and B. quintana. Antibody levels are generally considered to be indicative of an individual’s immune response to a particular species of pathogen. The presence of antibodies may indicate that a patient has been exposed to these particular species of Bartonella.

Bartonella spp. ePCR™ test panel is designed to detect a broad range of Bartonella spp. DNA. The ePCR platform combines highly sensitive genus-level PCR with a proprietary sample enrichment step that grows the bacteria to detectable levels. Bartonella spp. infect at very low levels and are, therefore, difficult to detect using conventional testing methods. When feasible, serial testing using the Bartonella spp. ePCR Triple Draw test is recommended over the single draw to further increase sensitivity of the test by capturing Bartonella species as they cycle in and out of the bloodstream.

Are there special requirements for this test?

The patient should be off antibiotics for at least two weeks prior to having samples drawn for PCR testing.

Other relevant lab tests

PCR Tick Panel