Bartonellosis is caused by a Gram-negative intracellular bacterium with a zoonotic transmission. The disease, caused by any of several genospecies of Bartonella can range from a benign, self-limited condition to a highly morbid and life-threatening illness. The current standard of care antibiotics are generally effective in acute infection; these include azithromycin or erythromycin, doxycycline, gentamicin, rifampin, and ciprofloxacin. However, treatment of chronic infection remains problematic. We tested six different antibiotics for their ability to stop the growth of Bartonella sp. in the standard insect media and in an enrichment media. All antibiotics (ceftriaxone, doxycycline, gentamycin, azithromycin, ampicillin, and azlocillin) had minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) below 0.5 µg/mL in the BAPGM enrichment media but were ineffective at inhibiting growth when the standard insect media was used. Azlocillin was the most potent, with a MIC of 0.01 µg/mL. When Bartonella was tested under intracellular growth conditions, none of the antibiotics were efficacious singly. However, growth inhibition was observed when azlocillin and azithromycin were combined. These studies illustrate the impact of growth medium and intracellular environment on antibiotic susceptibility testing and indicate that azlocillin combined with azithromycin may be an effective drug combination for the treatment of Bartonellosis.
Keywords: Bartonella; MBC; MIC; antibiotic susceptibility; azithromycin; azlocillin; intracellular.