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Bartonella Henselae

Bartonella henselae is a small, pleomorphic gram negative bacillus that is difficult to culture due to its fastidious growth requirements. This organism has been associated with:

  • Cat scratch disease
  • Bacillary angiomatosis
  • Peliosis hepatitis
  • Endocarditis

Traditionally, the diagnosis of Bartonella infections has been made by Warthin-Starry staining of tissue and serology. However, these tests are nonspecific and may be falsely negative in early stages of disease.

Real time PCR testing for the citrate synthase gene of Bartonella species is the preferred test today. Specimen requirement is:

  • A lavender top tube of blood
  • Fresh tissue frozen in a screw-capped sterile plastic container
  • Paraffin block of tissue
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