Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.
What is Bacillary Angiomatosis?
This is a rare illness but can be potentially fatal if it is not treated. Fortunately it only affects a small percentage of people. It was first identified in the early 1980’s by Stoler and Associates and the origin was not clear but it did seem to be found exclusively in people who have immune systems that were severely compromised such as people who had AIDS or HIV virus.
Bacillary Angiomatosis Symptoms
The symptoms of this medical condition are hard to miss because it can cause growths or lesions that vary in size and can occur all over your skin. They also vary in size from tiny to quite large. They can growth up to approximately four inches in diameter and it is quite possible to have over fifty growths at any time. They range in color from bright red to almost black. They can easily be broken open and cause bleeding. In addition a person may also have these symptoms:
- Swelling of your glands
- General achiness
- Stomach upset.
There may also be internal symptoms, which are the most dangerous symptoms. If the growths occur on the outside of your skin they can also start to grow inside your body which can affect vital organs causing organ dysfunction.
The cause of bacillary angiomatosis comes from a common bacteria that could be present on animal lice or fleas that infest your body. The strains of this bacterium are B. quintana or Bartonella henselae. The bacteria strain Bartonella henselae is usually transferred to your bloodstream from ticks, fleas, or a cat scratch. The bacteria strain Bartonella Quintana is normally transmitted by lice.
The cause of this rare potentially fatal illness came from research scientist who discovered that the illness represented infection with bacteria. This bacterium is transmitted into your bloodstream if you are bit by either of the two common carriers which will eventually cause symptoms of this illness.
People who have strong immune systems are usually immune from contacting this illness but if your immune system is compromised it may not have the ability to fight either of these bacteria adequately. Bacillary angiomatosis is commonly found in people who suffer from Aids or HIV because of their compromised immune system.
When you see your physician they will do a physical examination to see if there are any of the characteristic lesions. If so they will have a biopsy done to confirm a diagnosis of bacillary angiomatosis.
If you start to show any of the symptoms of bacillary angiomatosis it is important that you seek medical help immediately because there is danger in allowing this condition to progress without being treated. Fortunately there is some very effective treatment for this illness. Treatment includes treating it with common antibiotics like tetracycline or erythromycin. If you have AIDS or HIV the lesions of bacillary angiomatosis are similar to the lesions that are caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma. Before beginning the treatment your physician will do some tests to make sure just what is causing the lesions because the treatment for both of these medical conditions is different. If you are treated for bacillary angiomatosis when you first notice the symptoms it is not as dangerous but if you delay treatment you have a chance of having your respiratory fail or having multi-organ failure. Even when treating it early it can still take up to thirty days for it to be completely resolved.