Bartonella and Sudden-Onset Adolescent Schizophrenia A teen with sudden-onset psychotic behavior is misdiagnosed with mental illness.

By Tracy Peake, North Carolina State University

I n a new case study, researchers at North Carolina State University describe an adolescent human patient diagnosed with rapid-onset schizophrenia who was found instead to have a Bartonella henselae infection.

This study adds to the growing body of evidence that bartonella infection can mimic a host of chronic illnesses, including mental illness, and could open up new avenues of research into bacterial or microbial causes of mental disorders.

Bartonella is a bacteria most commonly associated with cat scratch disease, which until recently was thought to be a short-lived (or self-limiting) infection. There are at least 30 different known species of bartonella, and 13 of those have been found to infect human beings.

Bartonella Found in Many Chronic Illnesses

Bartonella and sudden-onset schizophrenia

The ability to find and diagnose bartonella infection in animals and humans—it is notorious for “hiding” in the linings of blood vessels—has led to its identification in patients with a host of chronic illnesses that the medical community previously hadn’t been able to attribute to a specific cause.  These range from migraines to seizures to rheumatoid illnesses.

In a case study published in the Journal of Central Nervous Disease, an adolescent boy with sudden-onset psychotic behavior—diagnosed as schizophrenia—was seen and treated by numerous specialists and therapists over an 18-month period…..Join or login below to continue reading.

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