Prevalence of serologic evidence of cat scratch disease in patients with neuroretinitis

Ophthalmology. 2000 May;107(5):871-6. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(00)00002-6.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of Bartonella henselae seropositivity in patients with a clinical diagnosis of neuroretinitis.

Design: Retrospective, clinic-based, cross-sectional study.

Participants: Eighteen consecutive patients seeking treatment at the Casey Eye Institute from November 1993 through November 1998 who had neuroretinitis.

Methods: The billing and photographic records of the Casey Eye Institute were searched for patients with a primary or secondary diagnosis of neuroretinitis or Leber's idiopathic stellate neuroretinitis. Charts were then reviewed to determine the results of B. henselae antibody titers and other pertinent clinical information.

Main outcome measures: Results of B. henselae serologic testing.

Results: Fourteen of 18 patients with neuroretinitis had serologic studies. Nine of the 14 tested patients (64.3%) were found to have elevated IgM or IgG for B. henselae, suggesting current or past infection. Patients with positive serologic analysis results tended to have worse vision at presentation. There were no other obvious differences between seropositive and seronegative groups in this study, including duration or quality of recovery.

Conclusions: At our tertiary care ophthalmology institution, most tested patients with neuroretinitis had evidence of past or present cat-scratch disease based on positive serologic analysis for B. henselae, a much greater prevalence than is expected to be found in the general population or in patients with idiopathic uveitis. Further study is indicated to clarify the prevalence of cat-scratch disease in neuroretinitis and the role and efficacy of antibiotics in treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Bartonella henselae / immunology*
  • Cat-Scratch Disease / diagnosis*
  • Cat-Scratch Disease / drug therapy
  • Cat-Scratch Disease / epidemiology
  • Cat-Scratch Disease / microbiology
  • Cats
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Neuritis / diagnosis*
  • Optic Neuritis / drug therapy
  • Optic Neuritis / epidemiology
  • Optic Neuritis / microbiology
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Ciprofloxacin