Molecular Detection by PCR

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Reference Details


Detection of Bartonella species by PCR.


Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Bartonella spp.
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Bartonellosis

Fluid aspirate from wound, sample of pus, fluid and/or tissue from lymph nodes, heart valve biopsy, synovial joint fluid.


Collection Method:

A swab or fluid aspirate from suspected area of infection, or whole blood. Swabs must be supplied in at least 1 mL appropriate storage medium and NOT shipped dry. Tissue biopsy samples should be collected from lymph nodes or heart valve samples from cases of culture-negative endocarditis. A minimum volume of 1 mL is required for fluid / liquid specimens. All samples should be supplied in screw-capped tubes made of freeze-thaw and shatter-resistant plastic.

CSF samples are accepted for testing however, they are not ideal specimen types as they are typically low-yield.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

No further processing is required once specimens have been collected according to the above instructions. If possible, freeze all specimens immediately after collection. Alternatively, refrigerate specimens for up to 5 days. Ship frozen samples with dry ice and refrigerated ones with freezer packs.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods:

Shipping of specimens shall be done by a TDG certified individual in accordance with TDG regulations. For additional information regarding classification of specimens for the purposes of shipping, consult either Part 2 Appendix 3 of the TDG Regulations or section 3.6.2 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations as applicable.

For additional guidance on the transport of infectious substances in other languages, please click on the link below.


Patient Criteria:

Clinical manifestations of B. henselae infection, also referred to as “Cat scratch disease” (CSD), may include localized infections such as subacute regional lymphadenopathy, skin lesions, musculoskeletal lesions, culture-negative endocarditis, and uveitis and retinitis; however systemic manifestations are also common resulting in symptoms of fever, meningitis, osteomyelitis and arthritis.

Infection with B. quintana (Trench fever) is characterized by fever, which may be present as a single bout or bouts of recurrent fever, headache, rash and bone pain mainly in the shins neck and back.

Both B. henselae and B. quintana may cause bacillary angiomatosis in immunocompromised individuals such as those with advanced HIV. 


Accompanying Documentation:

Completed Requisition for Molecular Testing for Selected Zoonotic Agents, detailing all patient information and relevant clinical information. If possible, include the clinical history and lab results performed at local or provincial laboratories.



Due to the fact that a Bartonella spp. infection can result in localized and systemic manifestations, it is difficult to accurately detect the infectious agent unless the appropriate specimens are submitted for testing. Please only submit the listed specimen types. Samples may be subject to rejection if they are not the appropriate specimen type, have insufficient volume or are not accompanied by relevant patient information or clinical history.


Methods and Interpretation of Results:

Extracted DNA is initially tested by a real-time PCR assay capable of detecting all Bartonella species. Samples positive by the screening assay, are tested by additional real-time PCR assays specific for B. henselae and B. quintana. If necessary, conventional PCR and sequencing for species determination.   

Initiation of antibiotic treatment prior to testing may result in decreased bacterial genome which will affect the outcome of PCR testing.

Turnaround Time:

 21 calendar days.


Phone: (204) 789-7434 or (204) 789-7662
Fax: (204) 789-2082
  1. Raoult D, Roblot F, Rolain JM, Besnier JM, et al. 2006. First isolation of Bartonella alsatica from a valve of a patient with endocarditis. J Clin Microbiol. 44:278–9.
  2. Angelakis, E., Rolain, J. M., Raoult, D., & Brouqui, P. 2011. Bartonella quintana in head louse nits. Pathogens and Disease, 62(2), 244-246.
  3. Chomel B, Boulouis HJ, Maruyama S, Breitschwerdt EB. 2006. Bartonella spp. in pets and effect on human health. Emerg. Infect. Dis. (12):389-394.
  4. Raoult D. 2007. From cat scratch disease to Bartonella henselae infection. Clin. Infect. Dis. (45):1541-1542.
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