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Bartonella henselae has only recently been isolated, characterized, and found to be the principal cause of cat-scratch disease (CSD). The availability of specific serologic investigations has allowed the recognition of a spectrum of ocular CSD syndromes that previously were ill defined and considered idiopathic. The primary inoculation complex causing regional lymphadenopathy is represented in the eye by Parinaud's oculoglandular syndrome;B. henselae is the most common cause. Leber's neuroretinitis has been identified for 80 years, and new data suggest that it is commonly a manifestation of CSD; the extent of the association remains to be determined. CSD optic neuritis is also described. The vitreoretinal manifestations include anterior uveitis, vitritis, pars planitis, focal retinal vasculitis, a characteristic retinal white spot syndrome, Bartonella retinitis, branch retinal arteriolar or venular occlusions, focal choroiditis, serous retinal detachments, and peripapillary angiomatous lesions. The pattern of ocular disease in AIDS-associated B. henselae infections is poorly delineated; unusual manifestations include conjunctival and retinal bacillary angiomatosis. The benefit of antimicrobial therapy for CSD in immunocompetent individuals has been difficult to establish, partly because most infections are self limited. Empirically, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, rifampin, parenteral gentamicin, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole provide the best therapeutic choices to minimize damage to the eye.

(C) 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.