Thank you for publishing the JAVMA News story “Bartonellosis: a zoonosis hidden in plain sight.”1 Importantly, the article notes that encephalopathy, inflammatory syndromes, and irritability are all potential manifestations of barton-ellosis in humans.
Over the past 20 years, I've read countless articles about burnout, compassion fatigue, and suicide in the veterinary profession, but few discuss the possible role of certain zoonoses in these issues. Microbes and mental health are linked. Changes in behavior, cognition, executive functioning, and emotional states can be caused by infections and the body's response to those infections, and some patients with mental illness related to an undiag-nosed zoonosis may be given a psychiatric diagnosis, leaving the root problem untreated. If veterinary conferences were to include sessions on zoonotic diseases in humans, it is likely that at least some veterinary professionals in the audience would have an aha moment as they realize that some of their own health issues might be related to zoonotic disease.
Unfortunately, veterinary medicine has been separated from human medicine in a way that leaves a wide gap in medical knowledge about zoonoses. Veterinarians are trained in zoonoses but physicians often are not. One health attempts to bridge this chasm between veterinary and human medicine, but there is a long way to go.
I would appreciate more articles in the JAVMA about zoonoses and their effects on human physical, mental, and emotional health. I think it would improve and save many lives if you would do so.
Judie Gerber, DVM
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