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Bartonella henselae Neuroretinitis: A Rare Coinfection in POEMS Syndrome


Bartonella henselae is a recognized cause of neuroretinitis in cat scratch disease. Meanwhile, polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy, skin changes (POEMS) syndrome with Castleman disease (evidence of lymph node hyperplasia), is a chronic debilitating condition that predisposes to various superimposed infections. B. henselae neuroretinitis implicated in POEMS syndrome has not been reported previously. A 34-year-old asymptomatic man was referred for an eye assessment. Examination showed visual acuity of 6/18 in the right eye and 6/24 in the left eye. On fundus examination, both eyes exhibited typical features of neuroretinitis (optic disc swelling and incomplete macular star). There was otherwise no vitritis or chorioretinitis. Serology for B. henselae revealed high immunoglobulin M (IgM) titer (1:96) indicative of acute disease, and positive immunoglobulin G (IgG) (1:156). He was treated with oral azithromycin for 6 weeks and a short course of oral prednisolone. Subsequently, the visual acuity in both eyes improved with resolution of macular star. However, both optic discs remained swollen.

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