Bartonella henselae bacteremia diagnosed post-mortem in a myelodysplastic syndrome patient

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This study involves a 49-year-old male, who for three years suffered with a myelodysplastic syndrome and who needed frequent blood transfusions. One day following a transfusion, he presented fever and abdominal pain. The fever became persistent and only improved temporarily with two cycles of intravenous ciprofloxacin. Nearly 120 days after beginning the second cycle of treatment, he had experienced a weight loss of 16 kg and recurring fever. Screening for fever of unknown origin was conducted, including Bartonella infection. No etiology could be found. The patient improved with an antimicrobial regimen composed of oral doxycycline and intravenous ciprofloxacin. After 15 days afebrile, the patient was discharged with a four-month oral prescription of doxycycline and ciprofloxacin. Eight months following the antibiotic treatment, the patient received an allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Five days following the transplant, the patient initiated a febrile neutropenia and died. From a blood sample collected and stored at the time of hospitalization, a microbiological and molecular study was performed again. Blood- and liquid culture-PCRs from the same blood sample were all negative, but an isolate from solid subculture was found. The molecular reactions from this isolate were all positive and the sequence was 100% homologous to Bartonella henselae. The present report points to the limitations of laboratory techniques currently available for investigation of possible cases of bartonellosis in clinical practice, and the potential risk of Bartonella spp. transmission through blood transfusions.




Drummond, M. R., Visentainer, L., De Almeida, A. R., Angerami, R. N., Aoki, F. H., & Ferreira Velho, P. E. N. (2019). Bartonella henselae bacteremia diagnosed post-mortem in a myelodysplastic syndrome patient. Revista Do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Sao Paulo, 61.

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