Serum and blood samples from 192 patients, who reported animal exposure (100.0%) and recent animal bites or scratches (88.0%), were screened for antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assays and for bacteremia using the BAPGM (Bartonella alpha Proteobacteria growth medium) platform. Predominant symptoms included fatigue (79.2%), sleeplessness (64.1%), joint pain (64.1%), and muscle pain (63.0%). Bartonella spp. seroreactivity or bacteremia was documented in 49.5% (n = 95) and 23.9% (n = 46) of the patients, respectively; however, indirect immunofluorescence antibodies were not detected in 30.4% (n = 14) of bacteremic patients. Regarding components of the BAPGM platform, Bartonella DNA was amplified from 7.5% of blood (n = 21), 8.7% of serum (n = 25), and 10.3% of enrichment culture samples (n = 29). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on only extracted blood would not have detected Bartonella infection in 34.7% (16/46) of bacteremic patients. Serology, in conjunction with blood, serum, and BAPGM enrichment culture PCR, facilitates the diagnosis of Bartonella spp. bacteremia in immunocompetent patients.
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