Diagnosis of Bartonella species infections

1.0 CME. This module describes the advantages and limitations of different diagnostic methodologies for confirmation of Bartonella spp. infection, as well as recent advances in sample enrichment for direct detection of infection of this immune-evasive, slow-growing bacterial infection.

Edward Breitschwerdt, DVM
Melanie S. Steele Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Comparative Medicine Institute
NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine

This module describes the advantages and limitations of different diagnostic methodologies for confirmation of Bartonella spp. infection, as well as recent advances in sample enrichment for direct detection of infection of this immune-evasive, slow-growing bacterial infection.

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe the limitations of Bartonella spp. serology for the diagnosis of bartonellosis
  2. Describe the limitations of conventional PCR vs qPCR vs ddPCR for detection of Bartonella spp. DNA in patient specimens
  3. Describe the diagnostic utility of enrichment culture combined with ddPCR for documentation of Bartonella spp. infections

This enduring material activity has been reviewed and is acceptable for credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians. The term of approval begins on 04/9/2021 and expires 04/8/2022. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Approved for 1.0 AAFP-prescribed credits.

Evidence-based bibliography for further study

Breitschwerdt, E.B., Mascarelli, P.E., Schweickert, L.A., Maggi, R.G., Hegarty, B.C., Bradley, J.M. and Woods, C.W., 2011. Hallucinations, sensory neuropathy, and peripheral visual deficits in a young woman infected with Bartonella koehlerae. Journal of clinical microbiology, 49(9), pp.3415-3417.

Bai, Y., Kosoy, M.Y., Boonmar, S., Sawatwong, P., Sangmaneedet, S. and Peruski, L.F., 2010. Enrichment culture and molecular identification of diverse Bartonella species in stray dogs. Veterinary microbiology, 146(3-4), pp.314-319. 

Balakrishnan, N., Cherry, N.A., Linder, K.E., Pierce, E., Sontakke, N., Hegarty, B.C., Bradley, J.M., Maggi, R.G. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2013. Experimental infection of dogs with Bartonella henselae and Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii. Veterinary immunology and immunopathology, 156(1-2), pp.153-158. 

Breitschwerdt, E.B., Maggi, R.G., Nicholson, W.L., Cherry, N.A. and Woods, C.W., 2008. Bartonella sp. bacteremia in patients with neurological and neurocognitive dysfunction. Journal of clinical microbiology, 46(9), pp.2856-2861. 

Hegarty, B.C., Bradley, J.M., Lappin, M.R., Balakrishnan, N., Mascarelli, P.E. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2014. Analysis of Seroreactivity against Cell Culture–Derived Bartonella spp. Antigens in Dogs. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 28(1), pp.38-41. 

Kosoy, M., Bai, Y., Sheff, K., Morway, C., Baggett, H., Maloney, S.A., Boonmar, S., Bhengsri, S., Dowell, S.F., Sitdhirasdr, A. and Lerdthusnee, K., 2010. Identification of Bartonella infections in febrile human patients from Thailand and their potential animal reservoirs. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 82(6), pp.1140-1145. 

Lashnits, E., Correa, M., Hegarty, B.C., Birkenheuer, A. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2018. Bartonella seroepidemiology in dogs from North America, 2008–2014. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 32(1), pp.222-231.

Maggi, R.G., Mascarelli, P.E., Pultorak, E.L., Hegarty, B.C., Bradley, J.M., Mozayeni, B.R. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2011. Bartonella spp. bacteremia in high-risk immunocompetent patients. Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease, 71(4), pp.430-437.

Maggi, R.G., Mozayeni, B.R., Pultorak, E.L., Hegarty, B.C., Bradley, J.M., Correa, M. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2012. Bartonella spp. bacteremia and rheumatic symptoms in patients from Lyme disease–endemic region. Emerging infectious diseases, 18(5), p.783.

Maggi, R.G., Richardson, T., Breitschwerdt, E.B. and Miller, J.C., 2020. Development and validation of a droplet digital PCR assay for the detection and quantification of Bartonella species within human clinical samples. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 176, p.106022.

Merrell, D.S. and Falkow, S., 2004. Frontal and stealth attack strategies in microbial pathogenesis. Nature, 430(6996), pp.250-256.

Nelson, C.A., Saha, S. and Mead, P.S., 2016. Cat-scratch disease in the United States, 2005–2013. Emerging infectious diseases, 22(10), p.1741. 

Oliveira, A.M., Maggi, R.G., Woods, C.W. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2010. Suspected needle stick transmission of Bartonella vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii to a veterinarian. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 24(5), pp.1229-1232. 

Perez, C., Maggi, R.G., Diniz, P.P.V.P. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2011. Molecular and serological diagnosis of Bartonella infection in 61 dogs from the United States. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 25(4), pp.805-810. 

Pultorak, E.L., Maggi, R.G., Mascarelli, P.E. and Breitschwerdt, E.B., 2013. Serial testing from a 3-day collection period by use of the Bartonella Alphaproteobacteria growth medium platform may enhance the sensitivity of Bartonella species detection in bacteremic human patients. Journal of clinical microbiology, 51(6), pp.1673-1677.

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Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson
  • 2 Quizzes
  • Course Certificate