BARRP - Clinical: Bartonella, Molecular Detection, PCR

Test Catalog

Test Name

Test ID: BARRP    
Bartonella, Molecular Detection, PCR

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosing Bartonella infection

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

See Infectious Endocarditis: Diagnostic Testing for Identification of Microbiological Etiology in Special Instructions.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Bartonella henselae and B quintana are small, pleomorphic Gram stain-negative bacilli that are difficult to isolate by culture due to their fastidious growth requirements. B henselae has been associated with cat scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis, peliosis hepatitis, and endocarditis. B quintana has been associated with trench fever, bacillary angiomatosis, and endocarditis.


The diagnosis of Bartonella infection has traditionally been made by Warthin-Starry staining of infected tissue or serology. However, these methods may be falsely negative or nonspecific, respectively. Culture is insensitive.


Evaluation of infected tissue using PCR has been shown to be an effective tool for diagnosing Bartonella infection. Mayo Medical Laboratories has developed a real-time PCR test that permits rapid identification of Bartonella species. The assay targets a unique sequence of the citrate synthase gene present in Bartonella species.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

Not applicable

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

A positive test indicates the presence of Bartonella species DNA.


A negative test indicates the absence of detectable DNA, but does not negate the presence of the organism or recent disease as false-negative results may occur due to inhibition of PCR, sequence variability underlying primers or probes, or the presence of Bartonella DNA in quantities less than the limit of detection of the assay.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

This test does not differentiate between Bartonella henselae and B quintana.


Inhibition of less than 2% has been noted in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. In a study of 178 ocular fluids, no inhibition was detected, although this is a possibility due to the relatively small number of specimens tested.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Karem KL, Paddock CD, Regnery RL: Bartonella henselae, B. quintana, and B. bacilliformis: historical pathogens of emerging significance. Microbes Infect 2000 August;2(10):1193-1205

2. Agan BK, Dolan MJ: Laboratory diagnosis of Bartonella infections. Clin Lab Med 2002 December;22(4):937-962

3. Maguina C, Gotuzzo E: Bartonellosis. New and old. Infect Dis Clin North Am 2000 March;14(1):1-22

4. Vikram HR, Bacani AK, Devaleria PA, et al: Bivalvular Bartonella henselae prosthetic valve endocarditis. J Clin Microbiol 2007 December;45(12):4081-4084

5. Lin EY, Tsigrelis C, Baddour LM, et al: Candidatus Bartonella mayotimonensis and endocarditis. Emerg Infect Dis 2010 Mar;16(3):500-503

Special Instructions and Forms Library of PDFs including pertinent information and consent forms, specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test