Bartonella henselae

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Bartonella or Cat Scratch Disease


1.0 ml

Vacutainer tubes (SST)

Bartonella or Cat Scratch Disease

Blood, clotted

5.0 ml

Vacutainer tubes (SST)

Submission and Collection Notes


Testing of patients with appropriate clinical history will increase specificity as B. henselae appears to be the predominant cause of Cat Scratch Disease.  Ensure the following fields of the General Test Requisition are completed if diagnostic testing is requested:

  • Clinical symptoms
  • Exposure (e.g. animal contact)
  • Onset date

Timing of Specimen Collection

An acute (collected early after the onset of symptoms) and a convalescent (collected 3-6 weeks later) may be required for laboratory diagnosis.


Haemolysed, icteric, lipemic or microbially contaminated sera or plasma are not recommended for testing.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

 Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHOL on ice packs.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Bartonella henselae testing is performed once per week.

Turnaround time is up to 10 days from receipt by the PHO Laboratory.

Test Methods

Bartonella henselae serology test for IgG is performed using Indirect Fluorescent antibody (IFA) test. 

Patients exposed to other Bartonella species may show considerable cross reactivity.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

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Updated 20 July 2020