Connecticut’s tick population continues to increase along with the rise of the Powassan virus, a tick-borne virus.

When most think about Lyme disease, they are primarily thinking about how to protect a tick from jumping on you when you are outdoors. Many people are not aware that they could actually be contracting bartonella directly from within their own home. Lyme Disease Expert Dr. Tania Dempsey recently shared what you need to know about this rising health threat on Fox 61 News & revealed how the disease may be transmitted from your furry friend.

Bartonella is more widespread throughout the world than Lyme Disease is.

Bartonella is also directly linked to vascular health. Bartonella is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted from ticks, lice, flees, biting flies, spiders and cats and dogs. Once Bartonella enters the body, it can hide just about anywhere. It has a predilection for the lining of blood vessels where it can cause inflammation and damage and can even attach to heart valves causing endocarditis or infection of the heart valve.

Bartonella can be contracted from pets.

Mammals, in particular cats and dogs, are a major reservoir for this bacterial infection. In fact, cat scratch fever is the name given to an infection caused by one strain of Bartonella. There are cats that carry this infection and do not show symptoms, but they can still transmit it. Insects commonly transmit it by biting the animal that has the infection and then biting the next animal (in this case, a human).

How to Test for Bartonella.

If you are having symptoms that look like Lyme Disease or that no one can explain, and then you test positive, have your pets tested as well. Vets are more in tune to bartonella and it is a fairly easy test to do.