Bartonella is a blood infection, commonly referred to as “Cat Scratch Fever”.
Currently testing exists for two species, however, there are now over 30 known unique species with over 200 variants.
Dr. Joseph Burrascano distinguishes the Bartonella associated with Lyme disease as “Bartonella-Like Organism” (BLO) rather than the more common species due to the wide variety of symptoms and difficulty in treatment.
In his experience, BLO usually intensifies the symptoms of Lyme, especially those symptoms relating to the central nervous system, and needs a very custom treatment protocol.
The symptoms for Lyme BLO may include any combination of the following:
- red papules
- swollen lymph nodes
- eye disorders
- sore feet in the AM
- hearing sensitivity
- severe pain in the tibia
- muscle aches
- sore throat
- profound fatigue
- lower abdominal pain
- lumps on skin
- abnormal bruising
- psychiatric abnomalities (mild to severe)
Typically, a co-infection is suspected when treatment for Lyme disease fails.
Many times the correct diagnosis of a co-infection followed by aggressive treatment will create a break-through allowing a full recovery.
However, with BLO, the difficulty in positive diagnosis through lab testing is even more unreliable than testing for Lyme and requires specific blood work by experienced technicians. Therefore, it is critically important to find a Lyme-literate doctor who can distinguish the clinical symptoms and tailor antibiotic treatment accordingly.
But don’t be fooled. The diagnosis of Lyme and/or co-infections is just the beginning of a challenging treatment schedule that must be tailored individually, many times relying on trial and error to find the proper combination of meds.
Also, Lyme co-infections can be more severe and more life-threatening than Lyme.
Recent research (Emerging Infectious Diseases June 2007) points to the likely conclusion that Bartonella infects human organs by building microscopic fat deposits that can lead to death (in the case of heart infection) and permanent disability. Bartonella may also cause the weakening of blood vessel walls which can lead to strokes.
Unfortunately, even experienced technicians can be frustrated by the BLO seen under a microscope. Hemobartonella and Mycoplasma are often diagnosed due to lack of more sophisticated diagnostic tools and the wide range of species and variants.
Further complications arise due to the morphing nature of Lyme that becomes unique to each individual it infects based on that person’s DNA, immune system and over-all health.
Again, the key to recovery is finding a dedicated LLD who is willing to try different protocols to find the key to each individual’s disease.