What is the role of Rochalimaea henselae in the etiology of cat scratch disease (CSD)?

Updated: Feb 16, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Reports associating another agent (Rochalimaea henselae) with CSD began appearing in 1992. Although they are not closely related, R henselae and A felis are both members of the alpha-2 subclass of Proteobacteria and share a similar microscopic appearance and affinity for the Warthin-Starry stain.

R henselae already had been implicated in the pathogenesis of bacillary angiomatosis, an angioproliferative condition observed in patients who are immunocompromised. Reports of R henselae –associated CSD appeared, and new immunological data subsequently supported a major role for R henselae as the etiologic agent in CSD. Although R henselae now is believed to be the principal pathogen in CSD, both organisms have been reported in some patients with CSD. [22]

When the sequences of 16S bacterial rRNA from R henselae and Bartonella were compared, these organisms were determined to be so clearly closely related that they belonged in the same genus. Because Bartonella had historical precedence, R henselae was renamed Bartonella henselae.

A Medscape General Medicine article that may be of interest is " Do Bartonella Infections Cause Agitation, Panic Disorder, and Treatment-Resistant Depression? "

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