I had Bartonella, and might still have it. I was surprised when the antibody test turned up "not negative" at IGeneX as I didn't think I had any symptoms. But there's so much overlap with Lyme, that it's hard to know which is causing the common symptoms.
I had the "preponderance" of neuro symptoms, as Dr. Burrascano describes it, when Lyme and Bartonella are both present. But then I have neuroborreliosis anyway, and all my neuro symptoms are known in neuroborreliosis patients without Bart. What was really telling for me was reading "Bell's Palsy of the Gut" by Dr. Virginia Sherr. (There are 2 Lyme aware Virginia Sherrs... one is a retired psychiatrist. The other is a gastroenterologist. This article is by the GI doc.) She explained what was going on in my gut and explained how Lyme and Bart cause the symptoms I was having. Only then did I realize how much Bart had affected my GI tract. Between Lyme, Bart, & Babs, every single organ in my body has been affected.
I also learned just a few months ago about a liver condition called Bacillary Peliosis, caused only by Bartonella. I stumbled across a paper and was stunned to see a scan of a liver that looked just like mine of nearly 2 years ago. There were 3 distinct problems consistent with Peliosis, which were misdiagnosed in me as "harmless." Ironically enough, the paper I found was by an Infectious Disease doctor in San Francisco writing about Bartonella infections. She said most of these significant symptoms were apparent in her HIV positive patients (immune compromised), but she also had seen them in immune competent patients without HIV. This was written in the late 90's, but apparently nobody read it.
The apparent symptom most connected to Bart in me, which we used as a measure for treatment, was my anxiety. A couple months after my anxiety seemed resolved, I stopped meds for it. But now, over a year later, I have some fleeting symptoms (tingling, a little numbness in my left hand, a blurry spot in my right eye) that suggest it might still be lurking.
I took Rifampin for about 2-3 months, and it gave me mild heartburn. I eventually figured out it was contributing to my chronic stomach pain. My doc switched me to Levaquin which worked beautifully. I started feeling better within days. About 2-3 months later, I noticed vibrations in my Achilles' tendons, and after a big cramp in one, we stopped the Levaquin. That was over a year ago. I didn't seem to have any residual problems from it. I was grateful the anxiety was gone.
Late in the spring of this year, I took Cipro for a UTI. The third day, I realized it was really messing up my gut. That took a couple weeks to recover from. My GP gave me Levaquin instead, and I figured it was only for 5 days so I should be okay. Well, the 3rd day I got a horrific stabbing pain on the sides of my foot, where the heel connects to the arch. My LLMD said this was Levaquin tendon pain, so no more Levaquin for me. I worked well on the UTI.
If I do need to go back on abx for Bart, I presume it will be Rifampin. There are other intra-cellular meds that can be used, although they're not as effective.
I have Bart's. the first symptoms were Neuro. I could hardly walk. I had periods of blindness and muscle weakness in my arms. Off balance and memory issues. An MRI showed brain lesions. I am better with treatment but I still get lesions on my body. Still have Lyme brain, some balance issues.
I had/have Bart but my symptoms would be hard to separate from Lyme or it's other coinfections. Bart. wasn't even 'discovered' (or had tests for it) when I first became ill. Later when a test was devised I was very high pos.
All I can say about the treatment for Bart (for me) was that the two/three drugs rx'd for it were awful and I'd never ever take them again. Cipro, Levaquin, Rifampin. And many other people report the same side effects.
But I wouldn't want to say that anyone not take them for some people didn't get those bad side effects and felt they helped a lot.
What I can say definitely is that the tests for Bart. (for me) would show pos. then neg. then pos. again. (Igenex) Depending on which test I believed I was either 'cured' or not. :(
For me levaquin gave me tendonitis. Rifampin was no problem.
Both levaquin and Cipro gave me 'tendonitis' ALL over the body. Not just the Achilles tendon! Not a rupture, which is what a lot of the articles are about---- 'just' pain.
For years. Still bad. :(
Not what everyone gets---- so until you try them you won't know.
Tendinopathy induced by fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics is a topic of controversy, with many researchers believing in a direct causal relationship while others believing that the risk is negligible.
With the advent of a “black-box warning” mandated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is enough data to suggest that FQs should be used cautiously in a selected population of patients.1 This review is designed to unveil for the clinician the pathophysiology, epidemiology, treatment options, and outcomes related to FQ-induced tendinitis and tendon rupture."
How does bartonella show up on Igenics testing? Is it one of the bands?
Go to http://www.igenex.com/Website/ and scroll down to co-infections.