Bartonella related to psychiatric signs

Bartonella related to psychiatric signs

Table of Contents

The Bartonella pathogen could be carried and transmitted by numerous animals and bugs together with fleas, flea feces, cat licks or scratches, ticks, lice, and biting flies. The an infection has been related to new-onset neurologic and psychiatric signs.


Of their 2007 article, “Do Bartonella Infections Cause Agitation, Panic Disorder, and Treatment-Resistant Depression?” Schaller and colleagues describe 3 sufferers with acute psychiatric signs related to Bartonella-like signal and signs.¹

Every of the sufferers was uncovered to ticks or fleas and manifest signs in keeping with Bartonella, i.e., an enlarged lymph node close to an Ixodes tick chew and bacillary angiomatosis discovered solely in Bartonella infections, based on the authors.

“… we now have offered case research of sufferers with new clear psychiatric morbidity, sudden agitation, panic assaults, and treatment-resistant despair, all probably attributed to Bartonella.”

The sufferers had been handled at an outpatient clinic for acute-onset persona modifications together with agitation, despair and panic assaults.

Apparently, remedy with psychotropics was not efficient in relieving their signs.

Nonetheless, “After receiving antibiotic remedy for presumed Bartonella, [psychotropic] doses had been diminished and all sufferers improved considerably, returning to their baseline psychological well being standing,” the authors wrote.

On this article, we spotlight 2 of these circumstances.

Case #1

A 41-year-old man had an entire persona change, based on his household, following a tenting journey in North Carolina. The person developed a small, “aching” right-sided axillary lymph node and fever after the journey. He had eliminated 3 deer ticks from his leg and shoulder.

5 weeks later, he exhibited irritability, extreme insomnia, rage and sensitivity to smells and sounds. He additionally reported having an “enlarged and really annoying” right-sided axillary lymph node which had been current because the journey.

Lyme disease testing was unfavourable. Nonetheless, clinicians suspected Bartonella, given his unilateral lymph node symptom and tick chew.

“A PCR check for two Bartonella species was unfavourable, however optimistic for B henselae when repeated,” the authors wrote.

Throughout the subsequent 2 weeks, the affected person developed severe agitation, panic assaults, and main despair.

“He was so agitated that in arguments together with his partner, he threw objects akin to kitchen glasses, a baseball, and a chair into his dwelling’s drywall.”

The affected person was recognized with bipolar dysfunction, though he had no earlier historical past of despair or mania. Nonetheless, psychotropic drugs didn’t relieve his signs.

“At this level, the affected person nonetheless had a big tender unilateral lymph node, fatigue, and new papules below his proper arm,” the authors wrote. “Numerous causes of persistent giant unilateral lymph nodes with papules had been felt to suit a analysis of Bartonella.”

An infectious illness clinician prescribed azithromycin and Rifampin for suspected Bartonella an infection.

After 8 weeks of remedy, the affected person’s lymph node complaints resolved. And, his psychiatric signs had been diminished considerably.

“His persona is felt to be 90% of baseline, based on his partner and closest good friend.”

“We advise this man’s psychiatric issues help a Bartonella presentation,” as he had a optimistic response to antibiotics concentrating on Bartonella and his psychiatric signs resolved nearly concurrently with the decision of his enlarged lymph node.

Case #2

A medical pupil reported having a rash on her thighs consisting of 4 linear traces, which developed after she had adopted 2 younger cats from a shelter. She additionally reported having a number of flea bites.

“The affected person complained of latest panic assaults, profound restlessness, and despair that started across the time of her new thigh rashes,” the authors wrote.

Remedy with psychotropic drugs was not efficient.

The affected person’s nurse practitioner suspected Bartonella and prescribed a course of cefuroxime and azithromycin.

Throughout the first week of remedy, the younger lady turned “more and more unhappy, irritable, and hopeless, with elevated panic assaults,” the authors wrote. Week 2, the signs had subsided barely. By week 3, the rash had disappeared and by the 8th week, her despair and nervousness had improved considerably.

Six months later, a few of the signs reappeared with “average return of inappropriate anger, extra interpersonal sensitivity, extreme premenstrual dysphoric dysfunction, irritability, and unhappiness.”

The affected person was retreated with rifampicin and cefdinir and improved considerably.

The writer’s level out that the entire sufferers initially required larger doses of psychotropic drugs to perform usually. Nonetheless, following antibiotic remedy, doses had been diminished or stopped fully as Bartonella signs appeared to remit.


  1. Schaller JL, Burkland GA, Langhoff PJ. Do bartonella infections trigger agitation, panic dysfunction, and treatment-resistant despair? MedGenMed. 2007 Sep 13;9(3):54. PMID: 18092060; PMCID: PMC2100128.

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