Bartonellosis is an acute or chronic bacterial infection. The disease-producing bacterium is transmitted to humans by the bite of the sandfly.
The infectious agent is Bartonella bacilliformis and the vector is of the genus Phlebotomus. Transmission occurs between dusk and dawn (sandfly feeding time) where the vector is present.
Bartonellosis has two distinct clinical types. One type is called Oroya fever and presents with fever, weakness, headache, and bone and joint pain followed by severe anaemia and lymph node involvement. In favourable cases, Oroya fever lasts 2 to 6 weeks and subsides. Oroya fever can be fatal and death is usually associated with Salmonella septicaemia. The second type is called veruga peruana and is characterized by the eruption of nodules - especially on the face and limbs. These lesions bleed easily, persist for 1 to 12 months, and finally heal without scar formation.
Bartonellosis risk exists in the mountain valleys of southwest Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.