Study Suggests Link Between Schizophrenia and “Cat Scratch” Bacteria

Scratchy cat

A small study conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University suggests that there may be a link between Bartonella bacterial infections (commonly known as “cat scratch fever”) and schizophrenia.

In the recently-published study, 17 people diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were compared to a control group of 13 healthy people. It was found that 11 out of 17 patients in the first group tested positive for traces of Bartonella DNA, while only 1 from the second group was found to have any traces of the same bacterial DNA. While this suggests that there might be a link between Bartonella infection and the development of schizophrenia, the team of researchers stresses that much more extensive testing will be necessary to definitively establish (or disprove) such a link.

Bartonella henselae is a bacteria commonly found in cats (and other animals) and can be transmitted to humans if the infected animal bites or scratches a person or licks an open wound on a person’s skin.

Source: Gizmodo