Bartonella genus (IgM)

Serum

Reference range:

Bartonellosis, a group of infectious diseases caused by bacteria of the Bartonella genus, can be diagnosed using serological panels that include the Bartonella genus (IgM) marker test. This test is designed to detect Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in the blood, which are produced by the immune system as an early response to a Bartonella infection. Bartonella species, including Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana, are known to cause diseases such as cat scratch disease, trench fever, and bacillary angiomatosis.

The presence of IgM antibodies specific to Bartonella indicates a recent or acute infection, as these antibodies are typically produced within a week or two of infection and can persist for several months. The test employs an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methodology, where a patient's serum is exposed to antigens derived from Bartonella species. If specific IgM antibodies are present, they bind to these antigens, and this binding can be visualized and quantified through secondary antibodies labeled with a detectable marker. However, the interpretation of this test must be approached with caution. Cross-reactivity with antibodies produced against other pathogens, the persistence of IgM antibodies even after the resolution of infection, and the potential for false positives, particularly in populations with endemic exposure to Bartonella, can complicate the clinical picture.

Therefore, the results of the Bartonella genus (IgM) test should be considered alongside clinical symptoms, patient history, and possibly other diagnostic methods, such as PCR or culture, to accurately diagnose bartonellosis. This test is a valuable tool in the early diagnosis of Bartonella infections, but its results require careful interpretation in the broader context of the patient's clinical presentation.

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