Symptoms of Chronic Bartonella Experienced in Humans
Updated: Jul 1
In general, most patients suffering from chronic Bartonellosis will experience non-specific or vague symptoms (often described as 'flu-like') including headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, feet pain and poor concentration. As the disease and chronic inflammation progress, the symptom profile expands eventually impacting multiple body systems. Each patient presents differently, however most tend to experience some aspect of neurologic, rheumatic, immunologic and endocrine dysfunction. The chart below is a comprehensive list of possible symptoms associated with chronic Bartonella infections or Bartonellosis. It was assimilated overtime using multiple peer-reviewed publications, case reports, didactic lectures, conference proceedings and books (references attached). The breadth of symptoms is extensive (but not all inclusive) and serves as a perfect illustration of this intracellular bacteria's capability, true reach and powerful influence.
As you can tell, most of the above symptoms of chronic bartonella do overlap with multiple other syndromes and disease processes. This is one of the many reasons why chronic bartonella infections are under-recognized. However, there are a few hallmark symptoms that can be a 'red-flag' and indication of Bartonellosis, especially when seen in combination with each other; some of these stand-out hallmark symptoms can include:
Excruciating Feet Pain (in the soles of your feet)
Shin Bone Pain (or deep bone pain along your lower leg)
Skin Lesions or Striations (secondary to collagen disruption) that appear similar to stretch marks (initially bright red, then fading overtime)
Shifting or Migrating Joint Pain (mainly in the medium and large joints) not typically associated with joint swelling
Recurrent Soft Tissue Injuries
New and Progressive Acquired Joint Hypermobility
Neuropsychiatric Shifts (new anxiety, depression, bouts of unexplained rage)
New (seemingly random) Allergic Reactions
Eye Pain and Photosensitivity
'Flu-like Symptoms' (with or without a low-grade fever) that presents in a cyclic fashion, typically after a period of immune suppression or a stressful event (ie- a cold, trauma, surgery, etc).
Bartonella Symptom Chart References
Anderson W. Bartonella like organisms (BLO): consideration, signs and symptoms Feb. 17, 2013.
Griffith JA. Lyme and co-infection check list. Neurology Health Center.
Breitschwerdt et al.. Bartonella sp. bacteremia in patients with neurological and neurocognitive dysfunction. 2008
Singleton KB. The Lyme Disease Solution. Booksurge; 2008.
Breitschwerdt et al. Bartonella Associated Cutaneous Lesions (BACL) in People with Neuropsychiatric Symptoms. December 4, 2020
Maggi RG et al. Bartonella spp. Bacteremia in high-risk immunocompetent patients. September 1, 2011
Johnson et al. Disseminated Cat Scratch Disease in pediatric Patients in Hawaii. May 19, 2020
Minnick MF, Battisti JM. Pestilence, persistence and pathogenicity: infection strategies of Bartonella
Maman et al. Musculoskeletal Manifestations of Cat Scratch Disease. Clinical Infectious Disease. Dec 15, 2007
Dr Daniel Kinderlehrer's book titled 'Recovery from Lyme Disease'. 2021
Stephen Buhner's book titled 'Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections, Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma'. 2013
Galaxy Advance Microbial Diagnostics. Understanding hidden infection: Cat Scratch Disease (Bartonella) 2021
Bartonella: new science revives a neglected infection. ILADS Winter 2014 Newsletter.
Burrascano JJ. Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease. 16th ed. ILADS