Bartonella quintana
Yousf Albozidi

In the beginning, I chosen this microbe because the name sounded attractive, but later on I found this microbe is responsible for disease called trench fever.

Taxonomy: Bacteria; Proteobacteria; Alphaproteobacteria; Rhizobiales; Bartonellaceae; Bartonella
Genus: Bartonella    Species: Quintana 
 (Gram Negative - Bacillus)

Bartonella Quintana Also called Rochalimaea Quintana, responsible for a whole range of infections. This microorganism is an unusual rickettsia that can multiply within the gut of the body louse and then can be transmitted to humans. Transmission to people can occur by rubbing infected louse feces into abraded (scuffed) skin or into the conjunctivae (whites of the eyes).  

Bartonella quintana survives very well in louse faeces (up to 1 year). People are probably infected through louse feces. Figure 1 (A&B)

Figure 1 A: Pediculus humanus, head louse. Copyright ITM   

Figure 1 B: Bartonella quintana      Source:

Bartonella Quintana (B. Quintana) is the cause of trench fever, a disease that was first recognized in the trenches of World War I, when it is estimated to have affected more than a million people in Russia and on the fronts in Europe. The name refers to its association with the German and Allied troops in the First World War. Trench fever was again a major problem in the military in World War II and is seen endemically in Mexico, Africa, E. Europe, and elsewhere. As the taxonomic understanding improved over the years, the pathogen underwent a number of name changes: Rickettsia quintana, Rickettsia weigli, Rochalimaea quintana and finally Bartonella quintana.

Urban trench fever occurs among the homeless people and people with alcoholism today. Outbreaks have been documented, for example, in Seattle, Baltimore (among injection-drug users), Marseilles (France) and Burundi. The fever of trench fever is classically a 5-day fever ("Quintana fever"). The onset of symptoms is sudden with high fever, severe headache, back pain and leg pain and a fleeting rash.. Diagnosis is based on serologic analysis, culture, and molecular biology.

Recovery takes a month or more. Relapses are common. It is now clear, that at least in its urban form among the homeless, trench fever can cause bloodstream infection (bacteremia) associated with nonspecific symptoms or no symptoms.

Bartonella quintana also has been found responsible for a disease called bacillary angiomatosis in people infected with HIV and for infection of the heart and great vessels (endocarditis) with bloodstream infection (bacteremia). The full spectrum of disease caused by Bartonella Quintana is still unfolding.

B. Quintana can be detected in erythrocytes by using immunofluorescence. The bacterium is observed in thin blood smears from fresh blood fixed with methanol and stained with mouse monoclonal antibody.  The intraerythrocytic location of B. Quintana can be confirmed by using confocal microscopy (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Laser confocal microscopy showing the intraerythrocytic location of Bartonella Quintana. Magnification × 400
Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2006; 12(3) © 2006 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicineNet, Inc

American Academy of Pediatrics

*Disclaimer - This report was written by a student participaring in a microbiology course at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The accuracy of the contents of this report is not guaranteed and it is recommended that you seek additional sources of information to verify the contents.


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