Bartonella henselae

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Bartonella henselae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Alpha Proteobacteria
Order: Rhizobiales
Family: Bartonellaceae
Genus: Bartonella
Species: B. henselae
Binomial name
Bartonella henselae
(Regnery et al. 1992)

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Bartonella henselae is a proteobacterium that can cause bacteremia, endocarditis, bacillary angiomatosis, and peliosis hepatis. It is also the causative agent of cat-scratch disease (Bartonellosis) which, as the name suggests, occurs after a cat bite or scratch. The disease is characterized by lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes) and fever.

Peliosis hepatis caused by B. henselae can occur alone or develop with cutaneous bacillary angiomatosis or bacteremia. Patients with peliosis hepatitis present with gastrointestinal symptoms, fever, chills, and an enlarged liver and spleen containing blood-filled cavities. This systemic disease is seen in patients infected with HIV and other immunocompromised individuals.

Bartonella henselae is a member of the class of the Bartonella genus, one of the most common type of bacteria in the world.

Antimicrobial therapy

  • Bartonella henselae[1]
  • Cat scratch disease
  • No treatment recommended for typical cat scratch disease, consider treatment if there is an extensive lymphadenopathy
  • If extensive lymphadenopathy
  • Preferred regimen (1) (pediatrics): Azithromycin 500 mg PO on day 1 THEN 250 mg PO qd on days 2 to 5
  • Preferred regimen (2) (adults): Azithromycin 1 g PO at day 1 THEN 500 mg PO for 4 days
  • Endocarditis
  • Retinitis
  • Bacillary angiomatosis[2]
  • Preferred regimen (1): Erythromycin 500 mg PO qid for 2 months at least
  • Preferred regimen (2): Doxycycline 100 mg PO bid for 2 months at least
  • Bacillary Pelliosis[2]
  • Preferred regimen (1): Erythromycin 500 mg PO qid for 4 months at least
  • Preferred regimen (2): Doxycycline 100 mg PO bid for 4 months at least


  1. Rolain JM, Brouqui P, Koehler JE, Maguina C, Dolan MJ, Raoult D (2004). "Recommendations for treatment of human infections caused by Bartonella species". Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 48 (6): 1921–33. doi:10.1128/AAC.48.6.1921-1933.2004. PMC 415619. PMID 15155180.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Spach DH, Koehler JE (1998). "Bartonella-associated infections". Infect Dis Clin North Am. 12 (1): 137–55. PMID 9494835.