B. Henselae Ab (IgM), Screen

Serum

Reference range:

Bartonella henselae antibody (IgM) testing plays a crucial role in the serological diagnosis of acute infections caused by Bartonella henselae, the bacterium responsible for Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) and other associated conditions. IgM antibodies are the first type of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to an infection. In the context of B. henselae exposure, the detection of IgM antibodies is particularly significant as it often indicates a recent or ongoing infection. The IgM response typically develops within a few days to weeks following the initial exposure to the pathogen and can provide early diagnostic clues before the appearance of IgG antibodies. This makes the B. henselae IgM test a valuable tool in the early stages of suspected cases, especially in patients presenting with acute symptoms like fever, swollen lymph nodes, and, in some cases, more severe manifestations such as bacillary angiomatosis or neuroretinitis. A positive IgM test can guide immediate clinical management and treatment decisions. However, it's important to note that IgM antibodies generally have a shorter lifespan in the circulation compared to IgG antibodies and may only be detectable during the initial weeks or months of the infection. Therefore, a negative IgM test does not necessarily rule out a Bartonella henselae infection, particularly in cases where the exposure occurred some time ago. The test's sensitivity and specificity also vary, so results should be interpreted in the context of the patient's overall clinical picture, including symptoms and exposure history.

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