Signs & Symptoms
Bartonella infections can cause varying degrees of illness, from benign lymphadenopathy to life-threatening systemic disease. In cases of B. henselae infections, lymph nodes (especially around the head, neck, and upper limbs) may become inflamed. Fever, headache, and loss of appetite may occur. Rare complications are bacillary angiomatosis and Parinaud’s oculoglandular syndrome.
A number of studies demonstrate the roll of B. henselae as a concurrent infection in cases of Borreliosis. In one study, elevated levels of B. henselae-specific antibodies were detected by immunoflorescent assay in a number of patients, and B. henselae-specific DNA was detected in their blood and cerebrospinal fluid. B. henselae-specific DNA was also detected in live ticks obtained from the households of two of these patients.
The incubation of B. henselae is generally 3-12 days. A lesion may appear at the site of inocculation, but this may be difficult to identify in cases of Borreliosis when it could be combined with an Erythema Migrans rash. After 1-3 weeks, lymphadenopathy generally appears and is combined with a low-grade fever. Atypical presentations include encephalopathy, joint inflammation, vision loss and respiratory dysfunction. More acute disease may precede, or occur without, lymphadenopathy.