Bartonella- it's a disease not many people are aware of and may be much more common than the medical profession knows.
Bartonella is actually a form of bacteria that are transmitted by fleas, ticks, other athropods and animals and their bodily fluids. Obviously, all of us who work in the veterinary profession are at more risk. We actually see ticks and fleas fairly frequently on pets when their owners do not use preventatives, or use ineffective preventatives.
Bartonella has been known as "Cat Scratch Fever". It was also known as "Trench Fever" in World War I. In the 1990s, the disease was "rediscovered" because it was causing a fair number of cases of endocarditis and fever of unknown origin in patients with HIV.
The difficulty with diagnosing Bartonella is it causes a wide variety of symptoms such as fever, fatigue, malaise, swollen lymph nodes, joint aches and swelling, neurological and physiological abnormalities as well as skin rash and markings. Illnesses can range from severe illness in immunocompromised people to chronic illness in people with healthy immune systems. Geographic evidence has documented cases all over the United States, but especially in warmer climates. It can also be found in most major regions of the world.
The best way to prevent Bartonella- wear protective clothing when outdoors, avoid animal bites and scratches, remove ticks promptly, use preventative measures such as good flea and tick control for your pets.