In World War I tens of thousands of soldiers suffered from a disease known as trench fever, the symptoms of which are severe leg and back pain and recurrent fevers. Trench fever is caused by the bacterium Bartonella quintana, which was spread by body lice in the trenches. There are other species of Bartonella which cause problems, the most notable being Bartonella henselae, which was identified about 10 years ago as the cause of cat scratch fever, a disease which infects more than 25,000 people a year in the USA. The Andes are also home to another Bartonella species, Bartonella bacilliformis, the causative agent of Oroya fever, which is endemic to Peru and spread by sand flies. An Australian woman traveling in the Peruvian Andes suffered from a potentially life-threatening anemia, with an enlarged spleen and a high fever for several weeks. The cause of her infection has now been found to be Bartonella rochalimae, a previously unknown species.
- From cat scratch disease to endocarditis, the possible natural history of Bartonella henselae infection. BMC Infect Dis. 2007; 7: 30.
- Wikipedia: Bartonella rochalimae