October 20, 2021

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Cat-scratch fever microorganisms bartonella potentially joined to schizophrenia, College of Wisconsin Madison analyze suggests

MADISON, Wis. — Infection from germs affiliated with cat-scratch disease could possibly play a job in schizophrenia and schizoaffective ailment, according to a pilot review carried out in component by a UW-Madison veterinary medicine professor.

Scientists took blood samples from 17 folks with medically managed schizophrenia or schizoaffective problem and a control team of 13 healthy grownups to check for evidence of Bartonella infection, which is associated with cats uncovered to fleas and likely ticks.

Of the 17 patients with schizophrenia, 12 experienced Bartonella DNA in their blood, in contrast to only a single of 13 in the manage team. Equally groups reported identical pet ownership and flea exposures.

The research, revealed this month in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Illnesses, was not capable, by design, to show a causal hyperlink among Bartonella an infection and schizophrenia. But scientists program to do a larger examine to see whether the preliminary effects are borne out.

Linked: What you have to have to know about cat-scratch fever

Erin Lashnits, who lately joined the UW-Madison college, participated in the investigation when at North Carolina Condition University. Researchers have been wanting at the connection in between bacterial infection and neuropsychiatric ailment for a although, with some scientific tests suggesting cat ownership is involved with schizophrenia from a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis, Lashnits claimed.

“So, we made a decision to look at one more cat-transmitted infectious agent, Bartonella, to see if there could be a relationship,” she claimed in a statement.

Bartonella are microbes historically involved with cat-scratch condition, also recognized as cat-scratch fever, which until finally not too long ago was believed to be exclusively a shorter-lived, or self-limiting, an infection. In people today, the condition can contain a bump or blister at the site of a cat scratch or chunk, and lymph nodes may swell. Folks may perhaps also sense worn out and have a headache or fever.

“Though there is rising understanding of neuropsychiatric health problems these types of as schizophrenia as ailments of mind networks, the question about the actual triggers stays unanswered,” co-author Flavio Frohlich, affiliate professor of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine, stated in a assertion. “To our knowledge, this is the pretty to start with get the job done that examines a possible function of Bartonella in schizophrenia.”

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