B. Quintana Ab (IgM), Screen

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Bartonella quintana antibody (IgM) testing is an important diagnostic tool used to detect acute infections caused by Bartonella quintana, a bacterium associated with several serious conditions, including trench fever, bacillary angiomatosis, and endocarditis. The presence of IgM antibodies against B. quintana in a patient's blood is a key indicator of recent or ongoing infection. IgM is the first class of antibodies the body produces in response to an infection. These antibodies typically become detectable within a short period after initial exposure to the pathogen, often within days to a few weeks. Therefore, a positive IgM test for B. quintana is particularly valuable in diagnosing early-stage infections, especially in patients presenting with symptoms like fever, body aches, or more severe manifestations related to the bacterium's effects on the vascular system or heart valves. However, IgM antibodies have a relatively short lifespan in the blood, and their levels can decrease to undetectable levels as the infection progresses or after it has been resolved. Consequently, a negative IgM test does not necessarily rule out a B. quintana infection, particularly in cases where the exposure occurred some time ago or in chronic infections. The test's sensitivity and specificity, as well as the timing of the test in relation to symptom onset, are crucial factors in interpreting results.

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