It Could Be Bartonella or Babesia: The Symptoms and Signs

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How to diagnose bartonella and babesia in Lyme disease image by Marty Ross MD

Diagnose Bartonella and Babesia On Symptoms

In this article I describe how to diagnose Bartonella and Babesia. Testing is not perfect, so diagnose these two Lyme co-infections based on the symptoms.


The tests for babesia and bartonella are unreliable. For instance, by some estimates there are 30 strains of bartonella, and we have antibody detection for up to two different strains depending on the lab. For babesia there are 15 to 20 strains with antibody testing for two of the strains. So many Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMDs) treat using symptoms and physical exam findings alone without performing tests. In my Seattle practice, because testing was too unreliable, I did not test for these infections. 

Bartonella Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms and signs of bartonella are: day sweats, ongoing anxiety, pain on the soles of the feet, swollen lymph nodes, a rash that looks like stretch marks, severe cognitive dysfunction, neurologic symptoms of numbness or sharp, shooting, stabbing or burning pain, abdominal pain for which there is not an identifiable cause, bladder symptoms of pain, urgency or burning, and psychiatric problems.

Babesia Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms and signs of babesia are: night sweats, temperature fluctuations, panic anxiety attacks, frontal headaches, feeling off balance while walking, air hunger, racing or skipping of the heart, red blood colored spots small spots on the skin and regular de ja vu experiences.

Figuring It Out

Figuring out if a person has bartonella or babesia as part of Lyme disease is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. If there are enough (but not all) signs or symptoms of these or one or both of these coinfections, then treat for them. Each of these co-infections requires a separate antimicrobial approach which is different than the antimicrobial approach for Lyme.


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