Bartonellosis, also known a ‘Cat Scratch Disease,’ is a bacterial infection. While not known as a tickborne disease, according to Columbia University Irving Medical Center, “The evidence for ticks as vectors of Bartonella organisms is circumstantial but fairly strong.”

Bartonella henselae is known to be transmitted by a flea bite, scratches from a cat, and possibly cat bites. Some people with a Bartonella infection are asymptomatic, while others can exhibit symptoms such as low-grade fever, tender or enlarged lymph nodes, headache, or a pustule at the site of the scratch. Less common symptoms include eye infections, severe muscle pain, encephalitis, skin lesions, and infections in the heart, liver, spleen or bones.

An important consideration is studies showing psychiatric symptoms of Bartonella (links below). Sudden agitation, panic attacks, treatment-resistant depression, violent outbursts, school avoidance, and sudden-onset schizophrenia.

Immunocompromised people are more vulnerable to Bartonella infections, and comorbidity with a tickborne illness can complicate presentation and treatment. Treatment may vary depending on the type of infection, the individual, and the symptoms, and lasts from weeks to months.