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Lyme Disease Co-Infections: Bartonella aka Cat Scratch Disease

Updated on July 4, 2011

Example of Bartonella Rash

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First reported in 1990 and described as a new species in 1992, Bartonella is one of the most commonly reported tick borne co infections to date. Currently, in the North Eastern states, it is believed that there are more cases of Bartonella then Lyme. When treatment for Lyme fails and there are many neurological symptoms involved that out weight the other symptoms, Dr. Burrascano and many other top LLMD's believe Bartonella is to be heavily considered.

Bartonella are bacteria that live inside cells; they can infect humans, mammals, and a wide range of wild animals. Not all Bartonella species cause disease in humans, however to date there are 26 strains currently reported and even more are being studied and discovered.

It is mainly carried by cats and causes cat-scratch disease, endocarditis, and several other serious diseases in humans. It is also transmitted by ticks, fleas, sand flies, lice and mosquetos.

One complication to Bartonella is it's unique ability to turn off the antibodies in the system. It can turn off the Lyme antibodies and also it's own. This adds to the complications of diagnosing the disease because the antibodies are what are needed to provide the positive result on a ELISA or Western Blot test. Also because Bartonella lowers the immune system, it is even more important to diagnose and to also steer away from steroids- including those used for spinal injections without knowing the complications that can arise.

Many doctors look for the associated stretch mark rash or patients with neurological symptoms that are unresponsive to conventional Lyme treatments. In many cases, you need to treat the Bartonella and weaken it to be able to see it on any conventional testing or to be able to effectively treat the Lyme. Occasionally a person who has been clinically diagnosed with Lyme Disease when having a negative test does not have Lyme at all, when in fact it is only Bartonella at fault. If left untreated, some strains can result in death.


  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Headache
  • Profound fatigue
  • Severe bone pain
  • Deep Muscle aches
  • Severe joint pain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Enlarged liver
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac complications
  • Anemia due to destruction of red blood cells
  • Neurological symptoms(Central Nervous system complication)
  • Meningoencephalitis (Swelling and Pain of the meninges)
  • Red Stretch Mark looking rashs
  • Gastrointestinal lesions
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding!
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Eye disorders
  • Sore feet, specifically in the soles
  • Hearing sensitivity
  • Severe pain in the tibia (shin bone)
  • Sore throat
  • Agitation
  • Encephalitis (Swelling of the brain)
  • Gastritis (Swelling of the lining of the stomach)
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Lumps on skin
  • Abnormal bruising
  • Psychiatric abnomalities (mild to severe)


These are the most common and popular treatments currently. The medications you may be placed on may vary due to your medical history and the experience of the doctor treating you. Personally, I had great results treating my chronic Bartonella with using Cipro and Biaxin together- but this may not be appropriate for all. Trust the advise of your LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) only and do not try to self medicate. For this reason, I did not include the dosing information.

  • Doxycycline (Vibramycin)

    Inhibits protein synthesis and bacterial growth by binding to 30S, and possibly 50S, ribosomal subunits of susceptible bacteria.
  • Erythromycin (EES, E-Mycin, Eryc)

    Inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)

    Treats mild-to-moderate microbial infections.

  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

    Inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest.

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

    Fluoroquinolone with activity against Pseudomonas species, streptococci, MRSA, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and most gram-negative organisms but no activity against anaerobes. Inhibits bacterial DNA synthesis and, consequently, growth.

  • Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra, Septra DS)

    Inhibits bacterial growth by inhibiting synthesis of dihydrofolic acid.

  • Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin)

    Binds to 50S ribosomal subunits and inhibits bacterial growth by hindering protein synthesis. Effective against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.

  • Gentamicin (Garamycin)

    Aminoglycoside antibiotic for gram-negative coverage. Used in combination with both an agent against gram-positive organisms and another agent that covers anaerobes.

If you are looking for in depth information, may I recommend Tara Hulko's and Dr. James Schaller's research. He is a genius when it comes to Bartonella and Babe


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    • profile image

      Yoda 5 years ago

      Please cite medical literature which states all of the symptoms you have listed.

    • profile image

      SRQllamalady 6 years ago

      My daughters both got Bartonella in 1996. The Dr. said self limiting, they will get over it. The oldest did. My youngest did not. She had severe joint pain, so bad she would have her knees to her chest, tears flowing, and rocking back and forth. Doctor apptmts. by the dozens. No relief. All Childrens- Infectious Disease Doctors said it cannot live in body very long. Wanted her to see Psychiatrist- I said if my daughter says she hurts she huts. No help there. He said put her on Celebrex. I said NO. A researcher told me what antibiotic to use and it worked. But it is now back- Dr. diagnosed Fibromyalgia/ Bart. It is the next Zoonotic Disease coming down the line. We have a truly caring Dr. now so hopefully soon she will have relieve again. But I am afraid it is something people will live with the rest of their lives.

    • profile image

      tastefairy 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info, LL. Very, very helpful. Can you comment on Bartonella and low dose naltrexone? Or Bartonella and A-Bart? Most appreciated!

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 6 years ago from The Boondocks

      Good going, LL. Keep on writing.

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      mom4johnson6 7 years ago

      Thank you soooooooo very much i have been suffering with extreme bone pain, fatigue, swollen liver and spleen most of my life and no dr has ever been able to pinpoint what is wrong with me. I have done so much research on every disease and disorder that i am contemplating becoming a dr. I just happened to type the wrong word in my search engine and your post came up. I read it and a cold chill went up my spine. I will be tested for this and with any luck i can be treated and finally be well....thank you

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thank you so much for giving us good information about this disease. I know it looks horrible. But I believe there is a medicine over there. Never give up is the best medicine and give the spirit for a new life. I hope you always healthy. Prasetio