A Decade of Suffering from a Bartonella Infection

James L. Schaller, MD, MAR

Lyme Disease Now in All 50 States

A recent Newsweek [†] article titled Cat Scratch Disease: Vet Suffers Extreme Fatigue for a Decade After Catching Rare, Severe Case of Bartonella Infection tells the story of 41 year old veterinarian, Victoria Altoft, who has been left suffering with extreme fatigue for almost a decade, after she caught an infection from a cat scratch which caused symptoms so severe she thought she was going blind or had a brain tumor.

Altoft's also suffered muscle and joint pain and night sweats which she suspected was a case of the flu. Her doctor diagnosed post-viral inflammation. Later, her vision began to blur which prompted her to visit the emergency room where medics thought her symptoms could be caused by a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis. Ultimately, it she was found to have a Bartonella infection, colloquially known as cat‑scratch disease.

The article makes several points on which Dr. Schaller offers some comments. The article refers to Altoft's malady as a "rare" Bartonella infection but it is not clear from the context whether the attending physicians thought infection by Bartonella a rare occurrence or if this particular infection was caused by a relatively rare strain of Bartonella.

Dr. Schaller advocates that it's likely Bartonellosis is not as rare as the article's title and content suggests. Rather, he states, Bartonella infections (along other tick‑borne pathogens including Babesia and even Lyme) are often undiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed by physicians for a number of reasons. Most physicians lack experience with these diseases. Their practice model does not allow sufficient time with a patient to evaluate history and symptoms thoroughly. Often, the only lab tests they are aware of are performed by large, commercial laboratories which have no expertise in Bartonella.

Veterinarian Altoft is quoted in the article: "To this day, it's difficult to know exactly what the long-lasting effects of contracting Bartonella are, as there is so little research, but I know I'm not the same now as I was before it happened."

"So little" is a relative judgment, especially in light of prodigious research readily available on more common diseases. But Dr. Schaller has been researching tick-borne illnesses including Bartonella, Babesia and Lyme) for the past 25 years to help him treat his patients with tick‑borne illnesses more effectively. In his rigorously researched, 2‑volume book, Bartonella: Diagnosis and Treatment, Schaller refers to the disease as "Lyme Disease's Cruel Cousin."

Schaller's two‑part Bartonella: Diagnosis and Treatment, is available on Amazon (Here-Part 1) and (Here-Part 2).

Dr. Schaller, together with researcher Kimberly Mountjoy, M.S., has also published many books on these illnesses to help researchers, practicing physicians and savvy patients. Many of these are availble to download at no charge. Scan the Free E-Books Page on this website.

If you are suffering from symptoms that your healthcare providers have been unable to diagnose, you may be suffering from a tick-borne illness. Dr. Schaller has great expertise in diagnosing and treating tick-borne diseases that are, unfortunately, missed by many practitioners.

Can Dr. Schaller help you? Check out our New Patient Page

† www.newsweek.com, 6/19/2019. Cat Scratch Disease,; accessed July, 2019.