Bartonella Species Cause Many Diseases

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October 24, 2010

Getting Lyme

Bartonella is a modern microbiologist’s dream. This gram-negative bacterium has the ability to cause human disease in many different ways. In fact, prior to 1990, Bartonella was known to cause only two diseases. Today at least eight Bartonella species cause a wide range of symptoms, with more species being identified regularly. Many are geographic-specific, however, meaning they all don’t occur everywhere.

Bartonella infection is responsible for these human diseases and syndromes:

  • Bacillary angiomatosis and peliosis hepatitis
  • Carrión’s disease (includes both Oroya fever and verruga peruana)
  • Cat scratch fever
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Endocarditis – inflammation of the heart valves
  • Erythema multiforme – pink-red skin blotches
  • Erythema nodosum – inflammation of fat cells under the skin
  • Recurrent bacteremia — bacteria in the blood
  • Uveitis – eye inflammation
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura – low blood platelets

Infection Cycle

Bartonella can live in many different host animals without causing significant disease. Each host animal has one or more species of Bartonella that is particularly fond of it. For example, cats tend to carry B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae. Wild rats harbor B. doshiae B. grahamii, B. taylorii, and B. tribocorum.

Since household pets like cats, dogs, and even rabbits are natural reservoirs for Bartonella, human infection usually begins with close contact with an infected animal (hence the name. Ticks, fleas, sand flies, and lice are also presumed carriers of the disease. In addition intravenous drug users who share needles may pass the infection to each other.

Pathogenesis

Once in the human bloodstream, Bartonella uses its tail-like flagellum to seek out and burrow inside red blood cells. There it replicates, releasing a molecule that helps produce more red blood cells. While B. quintana and B. henselae naturally exist in cat red blood cells, in humans these bacteria prefer to invade the lining of blood vessels, called endothelial cells.

The effects of these bacteria depend on the status of the patient’s immune system. An infected person with a healthy immune system may have minor symptoms that disappear in a short time.  But people with compromised immune systems may have high numbers of bacteria that persist in the blood and tissues and cause symptoms for much longer. This is often the case with people who have Lyme Disease and other Lyme co-infections.

Symptoms of Infection

The symptoms of bartonellosis depend on the particular species of bacteria and the immune status of the patient. The most common diseases are:

Cat scratch disease – Also known as cat scratch disease.  Usually begins with an enlarged lymph node near the scratch that may extend to many other lymph nodes later in the illness. A skin bump typically develops that is filled with fluid or pus. Other characteristic symptoms include fever, fatigue, and malaise.

Trench fever – The first symptom is fever, soon accompanied by alternating chills and copious sweats. Trench fever is also associated with achy muscles, headache, and eye inflammation with pain. In immunocompromised individuals particularly, the persistent presence of bacteria in the blood indicates that the heart valves have been infected, a condition known as endocarditis.

Carrión’s disease – Oroya fever causes fever, chills, sweating, aches, and shortness of breath along with neurological problems such as headache, mental status changes, and even seizures. Verruga peruana is a skin disease that occurs in people who had Oroya fever but were not effectively treated. Skin lesions in verruga peruana contain many blood vessels so they bleed easily and tend to leave scars if they break. Originally identified in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, this disease is now showing up elsewhere.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of bartonellosis begins with a detailed history and physical examination. The physician must first suspect that a Bartonella bacterial infection is the cause. Diagnostic workup includes blood tests and perhaps a CT scan. A positive blood test means the patient is infected. However, a negative test doesn’t mean a person isn’t infected. If a doctor still suspects Bartonella, the blood can be stained and viewed under a microscope for the presence of actual bacteria. CT scans may show swollen lymph nodes or even granulomas in body organs. Tissue or skin biopsies may also show the infection.

Treatment

In patients with intact immune systems, the infection usually lasts a few weeks until the body clears it. In fact, some doctors believe it’s not necessary to treat patients with mild disease. Most patients do receive treatment, however, to prevent complications. Fairly aggressive antibiotic treatment is needed for immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, and for those with endocarditis.

A number of antibiotics are suitable for treating Bartonella. Some species are more sensitive to some antibiotics than others. Azithromycin, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, Bactrim (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole), and gentamicin are most commonly used.

If the heart valves are damaged from endocarditis, the valves may need to be repaired or replaced surgically. Large granulomas may also need to be treated surgically if they cause pain or affect organ function.

Complications

Usually bartonellosis is a self-limited disease. The infection tends to go away on its own—even faster when antibiotics are given. Bacteria may return in the blood from time to time, though, for reasons that are not yet clearly understood.

In rare instances, Bartonella spreads to the liver, causing granulomas (a ball of immune cells). The illness may also cause Parinaud oculoglandular syndrome, similar to “pink eye.” About 3% of infected individuals develop encephalopathy (brain dysfunction), which causes a number of neurological problems. If neuroretinitis occurs, patients may suddenly lose their vision; however this usually resolves (at least in people with intact immune systems). The bones may also be affected (osteomyelitis).

For patients with Lyme Disease, the picture is usually complicated by multiple infections, which makes treatment and prognosis more difficult.

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65 Responses to “Bartonella Species Cause Many Diseases”

  1. Harold Says:

    Hello,

    I too have had years of problems including all of the above mentioned and heart problems, complete blindness for four hours one morning(went away on its own), numbness, chronic sinus problems, severe neck and headache pains, diarrhea everyday, speech issues, temperatures between 99-102 on and off, weak and tired feeling even though my anxiety was sky high, to name a few. Througout my last four years there are two symptoms I have had that seem to be Bartonella specific- The weird stretch mark looking rashes that come and go and the little bumps on my back(primarily inbetween shoulder blades along the spinal cord and on shoulders) that when scrached hard enough produce little sand feeling particles. Every other symptom seems like it can come from either bacteria. I have never had a doctor keep me on antibiotics long enough to kill the bacteria completly and they always come back worse each time. A month of oral doxy has been the longest. My lyme tests are always negative but my fry labs blood smears show bart.

    The lyme bacteria or bartonella are not the problem, most of our anti biotics and natural killer cells can kill a pluaktonic bacteria floating around the bloodstream easily. The problem is the biofilm that these bugs create around themselves while attaching colonies to your tissue. When the environment becomes undesireable for them they can simply pull back into the biofilm home and wait it out until the coast is clear.(this is why you hear of iv treated patients doing daily doses for a year and only getting slightly better and right back after the treatments are over) Figure out how to destroy biofilm and you won’t need more than a week’s worth of antibiotics to kill these infections. I was most recently diagnosed with MS and my brain was going to mush. I have started a new treatment and have been gaining control over myself, brain and body, a little more each day.

    Any thoughts on how to destroy biofilm more effectively? To this date our medical field cannot safely destroy biofilm quickly.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Lyme doctors haven’t yet been able to figure out how to destroy biofilms, Harold. These colonies usually include a variety of organisms, not just Lyme or related infections. They’ve brilliantly set up their communities to withstand the onslaught of treatment, antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, you name it. While treatment may kill organisms at the top of the communities, the foundation, with it’s system for continual flushing, stays intact.

      A question for you: Why have you remained with doctors who won’t prescribe more than a month’s antibiotics? Most Lyme-literate doctors treat for much longer than that.

      Reply

  2. Kathryn S Says:

    Hi Pamela,

    When I was 4 or 5, I spent about 6 months fighting an infection that no one could diagnose. I got so sick, I’ve been told I almost slipped into a coma or worse. I was finally diagnosed with cat scratch fever and given antibiotics. I am now 39 and in the past 2 years I have experienced multiple episodes of a nasty rash on my torso. They are raised red bumps, pretty small, but clustered together.

    The first episode, I was diagnosed with pityrasis rosea and then the subsequent episodes it was allergic dermatitis. The rash gets worse in the first week and then slowly subsides over the course of 3-6 weeks.

    Could this have any relation to the infection I had as a kid? I recently read that there is research being done on the correlation between these types of infections and rheumatoid arthritis. I lived in Smyrna, TN back then but now live in Los Angeles, CA.

    Thank you.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Kathryn, I think you should check out your rash symptoms with a doctor who knows how to diagnose Lyme and associated infections such as Bartonella. Your rash may be connected to oyour childhood illness … or not. I’m sending you CA Lyme info shortly. Thanks for asking. Let us know how it goes.

      Reply

  3. Carole Says:

    Pam,
    Do you have any information on good LLD’s in the Eastern PA area? (Philadelphia, Allentown, Wilkes Barre)I would even travel further. Thank you for any information!

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Carole, I’m sending Eastern PA Lyme info ASAP. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

      • Cheryl Says:

        I have a 14 year old son who has had a streak like rash on his back for atleast a year. Can Bartonella last this long? He has had exposure to sand flea bites a lot going to the east coast of Florida to fish. Also, about a year ago he started getting real light headed when he stands up to the point sometimes of coming to his knees and everything turning dark. He went to the doctor then and they ran CT scans and an EEG and found nothing and said it was probably cardioneurosynope but the neurologist did ask at the time if he had any marks showing up on his back and at the time he didn’t. This has me worried. He has an appointment this afternoon but I am not confident the doctor will know what Bartonella is because the last Dr. I asked about the streaks on his back said she had no idea what it was and left it at that.

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Cheryl, I’m sending you FL Lyme info so you can consult with a doctor who knows how to diagnose Lyme (and associated infections like Bartonella) correctly and treat it/them if your son has them. Thanks for asking.

  4. Cindy K Says:

    Hi, About 17 yrs ago I had a wood tick in my head, but unfortunately I think it was there for quite a few days. My husband and I went out on our 4 wheeler one really nice night in march (I live in Wisconsin) and it was the only nice day we had for quite awhile after that and while I was at work about 5 – 7 days later I felt a scab on my head and it ended up being a wood tick and someone took it out for me. By the end of the day I wasn’t feeling well, I felt very fluish with a headache,stiff neck, just fluish and after about a week or so people told me my head was really red around the large hole the tick made and it felt hot and hurt. Since it was a wood tick I just thought I had an infection and it would go away. Yes stupid since I didn’t go to the doctor because it was just a wood tick. Thru out these years I’ve developed arthritis everywhere in my body according to my whole bone body scan and I have heart issues with my valves, kidney stones and infections and the list goes on. I basically live in pain and am fatigued, my knees are really painful along with my back and nerve issues in my back and legs and feel in ill health most of the time. Every year I feel I get worse and worse. I have been tested for lyme quite a few times, but I waited too long and my test supposedly show I don’t have lyme. My vet has known me for a long time and knows alot of whats been happening to me and feels I could have bartonella. I have to be pre-medicated for any work such as dental work, injections, etc. being done and have figured out that everytime I take amoxocillian it really helps my pain in my joints and makes me feel better, especially my knees and hands, not my back as much. If I could live on amox and take a 1000 mgs at night and 1 during the day I would feel alot better. I would really like to know your opinion other than being stupid for not going to the doctor when this first happened. I’ve been told I have as I said arthritis all over and fibromyalgia, but why does the amoxicillian help and not most of the other antibiotics I’ve been on where they don’t touch my pain. I could go on with all my symptoms, but this is way to long anyway. Sorry about that and any advice or opinion you could give I would appreciate. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Cindy, you should be tested for Lyme by someone who knows how to diagnose it correctly and treat it adequately. This incudes being tested for the Lyme co-infections Babesia, Bartonellla, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis. Most people with Lyme have at least one. If you tell me where you live, I’ll send info on how to find a Lyme specialist. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

      • Cindy K Says:

        Hi Pam,
        I live in Kenosha Wisconsin. I really feel I got something from that tick years ago, but so many years have gone by I don’t know if anything will show up. I’ve heard Lyme specialist are really expensive and insurance company’s won’t cover going to one.

        My Neurologist thinks I should go to Mayo because I have so many issues and especially because Amoxicillin helps my joint pain and actually helps me feel better. He feels I have some sort of infection in my body, but of course not lyme and my blood work shows issues but none of the doctors know why.

        I live in Kenosha WI between Milwaukee and Chicago. Thanks for all your help.
        Cindy

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        WI Lyme info is on its way, Cindy. I’ve heard stories of folks with Lyme who’ve gone to Mayo in Jacksonville, FL and been misdiagnosed and mistreated. I’d see a known and respected Lyme specialist first for an opinion. Some Lyme doctors are expensive, but not all. And some do take insurance. You have to ask around. Sorry to say also that many of us have not had good experiences with neurologists, who don’t seem to know enough about the complexities of Lyme to be of much help. Thanks for asking.

    • Susan Says:

      Did you ever get the information you need?

      We live up near Minocqua and there is a bunch of people with Chronic Lyme.

      Do you ever go on http://www.wisconsinlyme.net?

      Reply

  5. Ciara Says:

    Do you know of any providers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, or Maryland? I am looking for someone to treat me because I have been given the run around for far too long. I have tested positive for Lyme, it was even reported to the CDC, and multiple doctors have denied I ever had it.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      I’m sending you DE/PA/MD Lyme info, Clara. It sounds very worth your while to see someone who knows how to diagnose Lyme correctly and treat it adequately if you have it. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  6. Sherlene T. Says:

    Pam would you please send the info about these diseases in Australia (if any apart from the one case I know about – Karl McManus). Also could spherocytosis be confused with any of these infections? Are there any Australian doctors who treat lyme and bartonella and babesia? I have heard that they are still denying that Lyme’s is in Australia. I am concerned as my son has spherocytosis and splenectomy. Thank you so much.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Sherlene, Spherocytosis is a disease of the red blood cells. I haven’t heard it being confused with Lyme or any of the co-infections that come with it, although Babesia, a parasite, lives in the RBC’s and can affect the spleen. I too have heard that Lyme is being denied in Australia, as it is in Europe, Canada, and the US. I’m sending the Lyme info I have for Australia. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  7. Barbara S. Says:

    Pamela, in your experience, can chronic lyme and any possible coinfection have primarily neurological/cognitive symptoms without any joint pain or headaches? Symptoms include limb, head and sometimes full body shaking/tremors/jerks; constant fatigue; anxiety/agitation; blurred vision; and brain fog/depression. Have had depression over many years, but none of the other symptoms.Have had many tick bites, and others in our small community have been caught early with lyme rash showing – I did not have a rash.
    Trying to get in to see lld in W.NC, wait is months, though they’ve promised to call if cancellation. Do you think we should try [Dr's name removed] in DC? Might he be quicker?
    Thanks for your thoughts

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Barbara, above all else, Lyme is a neurotoxin. So yes, it is possible to have only neurological/cognitive symptoms. I’m sending you VA Lyme info so you can find someone who knows how to diagnose and treat Lyme correctly. The doctor you mentioned is a possibility, although people say he’s very expensive. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  8. Allie Says:

    Another part of this, a lot of children have P.A.N.D.A.S. now called PANS: Pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome. Scientific American, Feb 2, 2012
    PANS is a new name for an old idea: That infections by bacteria, viruses or parasites can cause the sudden onset of Neuro symptoms.

    Its been stated that if a child has PANS, they have Bartonella too, and can habor the infection in the tonsils and should have a PCR test run on tonsils that have been removed to test for Bartonella.

    Methyl B-12 nasal spray post surg has been helpful. Some use Zithromax once a wk for 6 months, some are using GcMAF for really low immune problems.
    *Even if you don’t own a cat, but previous owners of your home had a cat indoors its possible to still pick up the bacteria in young children.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Thanks for the info, Allie. Passing it on.

      Note: LymeDiseaseBlog does not advocate for any particular protocols for the treatment of Lyme and associated disease. As always, Buyer Beware.

      Reply

  9. Shannon Says:

    Both my daughter and I have Lyme disease, have had for a couple years, getting better with Samento. Anyway, I just looked at her back because she was having pain and I found the Bartonella rash. Never had this she has seen before so thanks for the info.

    As a side note, it can be Lyme’s disease, Lyme’s, or Lyme disease. In technical writing, it is a style issue. The MT Book of Style these days says to write eponyms without the apostrophe “s” when stated with the word “disease” (She has Lyme disease. She has Down syndrome.) but to keep the apostrophe “s” when it is alone (She has Lyme’s).

    Actually saying Lyme’s disease or even writing Lyme’s disease in informal writing or in those situations that don’t go by the Book of Style is perfectly fine.

    (Eponyms are diseases/conditions/surgical instruments named after people or places and go by the above rules).

    Shan

    Reply

  10. Connie Says:

    I was diagnosed in 2008 with Bartonella Henselae, and no doctors here In MOntreal, Quebec know what to do, can you link me to a doctor here? THANK YOU!

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Connie: Getting help for Lyme and related vector-borne infections is more difficult in Canada than in the US (where it’s still plenty hard). I’ll send you whatinfo I have. Unfortunately you may have to travel to the US to get treated. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  11. Angie Says:

    Please note…there is no “s” on lyme.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Technically, it is Lyme disease, Angie. But at some point somewhere some people started calling it Lymes. I’ll answer to either. Really even Lyme is a misnomer, since it’s the name of a town in CT. Dr. Richard Horowitz, a well-known Lyme doctor, has suggested the name be changed to MCIDS (Multiple Chronic Infectious Diseases Syndrome). A mouthful. So Lyme it still is. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

  12. Donna Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing information and caring. Could you help me find a Bartonella specific specialist in the San Francisco and/or in the Los Angeles area. I have tried many protocols and can’t seem to rid my body of this bacterium that seems to morph through so many pseudo type illnesses. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Donna, I’m not sure if there are docs who specialize only in Bartonella. Most Lyme specialists know how to treat it. I’m sending you CA info shortly. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  13. fossil Says:

    anyone know of lyme treating doctors in boulder, Colorado? i was referred to an infectious disease doctor who after seeing my western blot said YES I have lyme disease, told me he’d treat me with iv antibiotics but then said I had to have MRI and Lumbar puncture first….these were negative and he dropped me from his care without an explanation in spite of how ill i am…i got my records from the hospital and he put on there he was ruling out a virus. i am totally confused and still very ill (headaches, sweats, weakness, other stuff)……….it’s like i don’t deserve to be heard or well or ???? I am tired of being too ill to work……….sick of the headaches………….sick of having fevers and then being ok only to have the headaches and fevers and GI stuff all over again a few days later……….what do i do next? thanks!!!!

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Fossil, you need to see a doctor who knows how to diagnose Lyme correctly and treat it adequately if you have it. Unfortunately (and very surprisingly) that’s not most infectious disease doctors. I’m sending you CO Lyme info. Travel if you must to get competent care. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  14. Susan Says:

    Two years ago I was diagnosed with bartonella henslae. I still have swollen, and sometimes tender, glands under one arm. Also, I have chronic joint pain in my hands and shoulders with occasional joint pain in varying locations. My physician does not take this too seriously. I saw an infectious disease specialist initially who verified ‘cat scratch disease’ and said it would run it’s course in a couple of months. I do not have a bucketload of money to waste on doctors who just want to pass me onto other doctors. Does anyone have a recommendation for a conscientious and competent physician in the Wilmington, NC area?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      NC Lyme info is on its way, Susan. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

    • mw Says:

      bartonella will respond to iceing the area not heating it- heat makes it worse—-rifampin and banderol have helped me a lot. you can order these on line….but i would recommend that you expand your belief system- you need to see a pychic healer- i know it sound hokey- its not- only the healers will be able to tell you exactly what treatment you need- they helped me- bring your questions to them and you will get on the right path- a pychic medium costs just 20 bucks- and are far better than any doctor on the planet including lymes literate -as they are the best doctorsa from all modalities of healing that have passed on- you will be amazed!!!! i was- nearly cured now thanks to them… oh ya aloe helps too: aloe gel and vitamin c internally…id see the medium for what you will need to do

      [Moderator note - this website is not responsible for health advice given by site visitors]

      Reply

  15. Carla T Says:

    I do not believe in Lyme disease. I believe in brucellosis and bartonella. I believe the degenerative diseases people are acquiring are directly related to the uncontrolled maintenance of brucellosis in foods. Brucellosis’ close cousin is bartonella. One can read more about this relationship in medical textbooks. It is not for public view but there are some articles about it on The National Library of Medicine’s website. All the diseases associated with Lyme are also disease components of brucellosis. Moreover, while physicians say that advanced cases of Lyme disease are difficult to treat, it is because the disease is not Lyme disease. Even if you don’t believe me, and are diagnosed for Lyme, ask your physician for “muscular injections” of antibiotic (ribafim and doxy are a good combination) or intravenous. Since Bartonella is a component in all of this (even though I believe it is Brucellosis) herbal remedies should be used continually as the disease always finds a way to creep back in your life. Eventually, however, it will disappear if you get the RIGHT antibiotic treatment. Sadly, since many mothers do not cook all their children’s meals (because they must work) like they used to, more children are exposed to immune deficiencies and intestinal parasitical infections. Keep in mind that WE ARE THE FIRST GENERATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD that does not pay attention to parasitical infection in our children. Mothers who work and do not cook ought to provide their children with a product called “ALINIA” every six months to kill parasites, and a teaspoon of purified cod liver oil every morning before breakfast. If your children protest – do like the American Indian used to do – wrestle them to the floor and open their mouths for them. Sound abusive? The indiginous peoples – and our own grandmothers – KNEW that if their children did not take antiparasitical medications they would be failures in all things in life. And Freud’s own “anxiety” theories centered around a mother’s careful watch over their child’s bowel movements. Do mothers do this anymore? No. They’re working!! Hippocrates said 97% of all disease emanates from the intestines, but we are the first generation that fails to take this to heart.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Lyme disease is actually a misnomer, Carla. Well-known doctors who treat Lyme (Borreliosis), Bartonella, Brucellosis, and the host of other vector-borne illnesses say it really should be called Multiple Chronic Infectious Diseases Syndrome, or MCIDS. It turns out many of us are a stewpot of pathogenic organisms if we get bitten by infected biting insects (not just ticks but mosquitoes, flies, mites, and fleas). Advanced cases of Lyme disease can be any or all of these things. Some of them are so immunosuppressive that they don’t show up on tests and can have few or no symptoms initially. It is comforting to know that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did know a helpful thing or two about parasites and taking care of the bowels. But I think there are other societal factors besides mothers working that have contributed to these folk remedies losing their importance. Nonetheless, taking care of your intestines is still good advice. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

      • Carla Says:

        I do not believe in MCIDS. Although there certainly are vector-borne diseases and Lyme disease, I do not believe in any of it. More people have Brucellosis than Lyme. Brucellosis is a facultative parasite. It enters the body as a bacteria either through air-borne contact with infected meat or eating infected undercooked meat. It can also be contracted through pets. It can also be contracted through sex. Brucellosis – or, brucella – mimicks over 50 diseases in the Merck manual. Try getting a test for it and you will find that the test is either done incorrectly or denied you, even though it is available in the U.S. Doctors profit a lot from Lyme disease. Remember the pig slaughterhouse in Minnesota? That was a CLASSIC presentation of brucella but the physicians are “mystified.” Brucella can also be transmitted congentially up to three generations. I wrote what I wrote because all this hype is exploitive.

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Carla, you contradict yourself. Nonetheless, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. US doctors also profit from lots of other illnesses besides Lyme. If I were to get angry at any subset of doctors, it would be those who know little or nothing about Lyme (Borrelia), Brucella, and all the other pathogenic illnesses people are getting that they don’t know how to diagnose or treat. Lyme and the associated illnesses that come with it are very real to the thousands of us who have it. There’s no hype on our part. We’d give anything to be rid of it quickly, easily, and cheaply.

    • mw Says:

      there is lymes disease but its usually only part of the equation as you point out- i had lymes and BLO- the bioweapon version of bartonella released in lymes ct in 1952- one of many bio weapons now circulating…The parasite issue you note is more true than most will admit too- i actually cured my diabetes by using a western drug that kills the fluke parasite! hulda clark is correct!! but the drug praziquantel works more completely and faster than her herbal cure for diabetes….. different fukes cause diabetes aids and some cancers according to hulda clark along with certain toxins that circumvent your immunity and allow these pests to then thrive…and then there is metal poisoning from flu shots vaccinations dental fillings etc… brucella is news to me thanks for the info…

      [Moderator note - this website is not responsible for health advice given by site visitors]

      Reply

    • randi Says:

      My mom used to always take cod liver oil in the months that contained an “r” in it. eg. Sept-Feb. The rest of the months, I believe she took a pill. I`ve never heard of ALINIA. Is it ok for bartonella. I`m 49 and just finished a 10 day course of augmentin as I’m not able to take doxyxycline which my kitten is on a 30-day course of. He`s on his 8th day.
      My vet had me put his food up at night and his blood sugar must have dropped. I freaked out. He couldn`t walk right, was dazed and didn`t seem to recognize me. Now I let him go 7 hrs w/out food but give him a treat 2 hrs later.
      I`m afraid I may catch Bartonella again before his treatment is up.My eyes are starting to burn again. An Opthamologist gave me a sample of NEVANAC eye drops which helped.
      I’m just concerned not only about getting Bartonella again, but also any other help issues as I have a compromised health issue and am concerned about it affecting me elsewhere down the line.
      Thanks so much for your info and all the others on this page who are sharing their concerns as well!

      Reply

  16. Sarah Says:

    Hi Pam,
    My newly adopted cat was diagnosed with Bartonella. After I had her for a month, I took her for her first annual vet visit. Vet discovered her gums were very red and ripped up looking. Vet sent out for biopsy of gum tissue, and discovered the Bartonella, as suspected. I gave cat special antibiotic 2x day for a month. I have been scratched periodically (kitty mistake of course). The vet says that as long as I’m not autoimmune compromised, it’s no problem even if I did contract it because it would resolve on it’s own. The vet said we can test kitty again for a few months, as testing this close to antibiotics wouldn’t allow any reoccurance to present, if it is still in her. Bottom line: if I get cat tested, and she still has it, should I get rid of kitty-kitty? I’m 50, and who knows what health problems are to come. And, should I get tested now?
    I’m very worried… I really don’t want to have lifelong health problems like I’ve been reading about, but also don’t want to put kitty down. What to do? Thank you in advance.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Sorry to say, Sarah, I know nothing about Bartonella in cats. As a cat lover myself, I’d be inclined to do another round of antibiotic if I found out my cat still had Bartonella. Putting animals down is always a last resort for me, after everything else has been tried. If you don’t have any symptoms, there’s no need for you to get tested. For your peace of mind, however, you could do it. However, it does take the immune system some time to build antibodies to it, which is what gets measured. Good luck! Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  17. Robert Says:

    Hi Pam,

    Thank you for your website!

    My eight year old daughter was diagnosed and treated for Lymes in June, 2010. Since then she has never quite looked right. She has bags under her eyes, she is tired all of the time, she has stomach aches, she was recently checked for symptoms of appendicitis, she has a lesion on her eye her pediatrician says is “normal,” she wakes up at night feeling “hot”, but doesn’t have a temperature, she has shown the rash that originally alerted us to Lymes, and over the last few days has started to show a new rash that is very consistent with Bartonella. Obviously, we are very concerned, however I can’t seem to find a specialist to go to. Do you know of a specialist in Manhattan?

    Thank you,

    Robert

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      NYC info coming up, Robert. There are great lyme resources for the city. Thanks for asking. It sounds like your daughter didn’t get rid of Lyme and any other co-infections she may have.

      Reply

      • Tashawna Says:

        Can you please send me info on a specialist in NYC as well. I live in manhattan as well, and have been on Doxycycline for 30 days to treat Lyme. But i suspect that I may have Bartonella. My cat scratched me a few months ago while playing. My symptoms match up pretty well.

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        NYC info is on the way, Tashawna. Thanks for asking.

  18. Emily Says:

    What a great, info-filled page. Thanks so much for sharing! I was diagnosed with Cat Scratch Disease 30 years ago and have struggled with “crashes” since. The latest one has dragged on for four months and included neuro symptoms that are really scaring me.

    My question is: should I see a LLMD? I’ve recently had a negative Western Blot. For what that’s worth. And my GP, while conscientious, seems out of her element here.

    Any advice will be most appreciated!

    Em

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Emily, I’d consult a Lyme specialist. They know how to treat all the tick-borne illnesses, of which Cat Scratch disease (Bartonella) is one. As for the negative western blot, if it was the CDC test, they’re famous for reporting false negatives. If you tell me where in what city you live, I’ll send you info on how to find a Lyme doctor. Thanks for asking, and for your kind comment.

      Reply

      • Emily Says:

        Thanks so much for the reply, Pam. Yes, the western blot was the infamous version. Missing the pertinent bands. Plus, if I correctly understand the progression of this type of illness, the longer you have it the less likely it is that antibodies will show up (?).

        Is it nuts to think Bartonella may have been lurking in my system for 30 years? Have you been in touch with others in the same situation? I’m starting to suspect it may have been a perfect storm for me: had mono that wouldn’t resolve (eventually treated with cortisone), several months later got a bad sore throat that wouldn’t go away, eventually went to an infectious disease specialist for the chronic sore throat and he discovered Cat Scratch Disease. Still had the scratch from the cat, which means the CSD infection followed the mono and the chronic sore throat.

        The only part of this I’m sure about, is that I’ve had gland/throat/body pain/fatigue problems ever since. And the more recent neuro-type stuff. Which is really weirding me out.

        ‘Preciate your kind offer to help locate a Lyme specialist. I am in Prescott, Arizona. Kind of halfway between Phoenix/Scottsdale and Flagstaff. I’d be happy to go anywhere in the state for a really good doctor.

        Thank you so much for helping me, Pam.

        Warm wishes,
        Em

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Emily, I don’t have to look any further than myself to know that tick-borne diseases can lurk in your system for many years (I’ve also talked to many other people with Lyme who corroborate this too). And yes, the longer you have Lyme and who-knows-what-else-related, the more likely your immune system is suppressed and not showing antibodies. AZ Lyme info is on its way so you can find someone knowledgeable to treat it. Let us know what you find!

  19. Karissa Says:

    My boyfriend had Lymes a couple years ago before I met him. He was told the medicine he was put on worked and made the Lymes go away. Within the last 6 months or so he had been complaining of the same symptoms coming back. He’s tired, his stomach is really hurting, he has those strange stretch marks on his back, his eyes hurt, he’s foggy feeling…etc. He got tested for it recently but it came back negative (like you had mentioned above this is normal because the test is unreliable). He also was diagnosed with Bartonella as well. What can I do to be encouraging to him to seek treatment? I just need keep helping him I suppose. Does it sound like the Lymes and Bartonella came back? He did get bit by a tick this summer. I guess because this is something I haven’t experienced it is hard for me to relate. It is also difficult for me to see a man so young go through so many medical things that I don’t understand.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Karissa, it sounds like your boyfriend has Lyme and Bartonella (a common co-infection that often comes with Lyme). It’s possible his Lyme never went away if he wasn’t treated long enough. It is incredibly hard to watch someone you love become so debilitated. Lyme isn’t one disease like most people think, It’s multiple chronic infections. The Lyme spirochete is a brilliant organism that makes a mess of a person’s immune system. None of us has ever experienced anything like this before.

      Please tell your boyfriend that he needs to see a Lyme specialist. Most regular doctors don’t know how to treat it adequately. I asked my doctor what would have happened to me if I hadn’t gotten treated for Lyme and she said, “Oh, a slow slide into total disability and death.” Lyme is a serious illness. If you tell me where your boyfriend lives, I’ll send you info on how to find a Lyme doctor. Thanks for asking and for being such a caring girlfriend.

      Reply

      • mike Says:

        Hi,
        i have suffered with severe chronic pain for almost eight years now, and have recently found out that i have lymes disease and also bartonella (cat scratch fever)…could you send me some information for a good lymes doctor in the phoenix arizona area?…i recently moved here from minnesota and have had lymes tests before but found out that i do have lymes …i also found some parasites in the bloodstream (worms)morganellas?…i think they’re called…thanks for your help…

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        AZ Lyme info is on its way, Mike. Thanks for asking.

    • Rod M Says:

      Karissa & company,

      My son (eastern MA) has had Lyme for an unknown number of years and has been on a couple of antibiotics for at least 3 years as directed by his “Lyme” doctor. Although he got better (initially) he has been stuck and just is not well. Recent developments include occasional dizziness and sight complications — reasons unknown. Perhaps like yourself his girlfriend (family too) finally got him to see a Neurologist (w/Lyme insights) this week who initiated some serious testing. Right off the bat it was determined he has Bartonella (stretch marks) and neurological implications. Perhaps he has other co-infections too — time may tell. It was my son who first determined he had Lyme and now his girlfriend and family have added encouragement to continue moving forward. I’m almost starting to believe he might get well again.

      Reply

  20. Carolina C Says:

    Hi! My husband thought he had a bad back for 6 years…they told him he had a herniated disk. This summer after a camping trip he got tons of leg pain and he thought it was due to his back. His doctor gave him steriods, prednisone for 2 weeks to see if it would help. He got much much worse and after so many MRI’s and tests that came back inconclusive, we found out he had Lymes with a Bartonella coinfection. He has been on heavy duty antibiotics for over a month and he has a good day but lots of bad days. Total roller coaster. He is on a plant-based diet and is losing hope of ever getting better. I think he has had Lymes for a while but got the coinfection on the camping trip and made all this come out and the steriods put the Lymes in overdrive. We have a great LLMD but he is expensive. Does anyone have any advice? It’s so hard to see a loved one in so much nerve pain and not be able to do anything besides buy lots of organic veggies and make home cooked meals! I had no idea 3 months ago that Lymes could be so devastating!

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Carolina, I’m sorry your husband is so sick. Unfortunately what you describe is a typical experience for many, many people with Lyme. Your husband needs to know that it will probably take him far longer than he (or you expect) for him to get better. He just needs to stick with the program. Healing from Lyme is a roller coaster, three steps forward-two steps back process. The best you can do to support your husband is be there for him. It would also be helpful if one or both of you joined a Lyme support group, either face-to-face or online. Other people with Lyme are a huge help in understanding what’s going on, sharing advice on what works and what doesn’t, and generally providing humor and hope where there seems to be none. If you tell me where you live, I’ll send info on how to find a group near you. Glad ou asked.

      Reply

  21. Christine Says:

    Need some advice: on Sept. 6, 2011 we camped out and I thought I had a speck of dirt on my ankle and when I went to knock it off, it wouldn’t go! So, I finally did it harder and I saw that it was a Deer Tick and the place left was a small hole of blood where it had been. Since then, the bite mark had gotten a little bigger, but swollen into a little bubble. At the two week mark, I went to the Dr. because my gland was swollen on my left shoulder, a toe joint was killing me and I had a “stiff neck” followed by a severe headache. He drew two vials of blood, because apparently Deer ticks not only carry Lyme disease, but two other parasites. I’m waiting to hear today, but my pain goes on and he is hesitant to not do any treatment yet, til he gets the results back. Any of this sound like symptoms any of you have had, what’s going on with my body? Thanks for all the help you can give me!

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      It sounds like Lyme to me, Christine. Migrating pains, swollen glands, a stiff neck, and headaches are classic. Unfortunately it’s too soon for a Lyme test. Your body won’t build antibodies to the Lyme organism for another few weeks, so your test will probably come back negative. Plus the standard CDC tests, if that’s what you had, are famously unreliable. Your doctor could’ve started you on Doxycycline, the most common antibiotic for Lyme. Waiting is not a good idea. If you tell me where you live, I’ll send you info on how to find a Lyme specialist near you. Your doctor is right; most people with Lyme also have other co-infections. But it can be more than two. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  22. Marlene Says:

    I just had a positive test for Mycoplasma, I was tested for this with my lyme test, is this a related co-infection? Is it treated the same as Lyme?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Mycoplasma pneumoniae is an infection that often gets activated with Lyme. You can read about it on this blog here. Luckily some of the same antibiotics that are used for Lyme work for Mycoplasma too, although it can be a difficult infection to get rid of.

      Reply

  23. sharon wolf Says:

    My daughter’s boyfriend was diagnosed with lyme and 12 other active infections in late July. He had problems starting the Nov. before that seemed to be kidney related. In March of this year he was in the hospital being treated for kidney disease and retained over 70 lb of water. They told him that he would need a kidney transplant. In July he met a friend of a friend that had some of the same symptoms as him and was given the name of a lyme doctor. He started treatment immediately.In the past 3 months he has lost 40-50 lbs of the water retention, but even after a second opinion he was told that he did have a kidney disease and would in time need a transplant. I saw that babesia had renal failure as one of the complications. I was wondering if anyone else has heard of this and when the babesia is gone, will he still need a kidney transplant or will getting rid of that disease take care of the kidney or if that is one of the bad results of it.
    Thanks for all the comments and answers you have given others, it does really help us start to understand lyme and its co-infections better

    Reply

    • Pamela Dodd Says:

      Sharon, You don’t say if your son has been tested for Babesia (or any other diseases that can affect the kidneys). Unfortunately like many other infectious diseases, Babesia can cause permanent (meaning irreversible) damage if it isn’t treated early enough.

      Reply

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