The medical team is at a loss for a long time with this disease
A 14-year-old boy from the US who prefers to remain anonymous was healthy and unobtrusive until he was 14 years old. He was very athletic, intelligent and played at the school theater. But suddenly everything changed in his life. The story of suffering began with the feeling of overstraining and inner restlessness. The development of the disease went from mental problems to thoughts of murder. His pet plays a bigger role than the treating medical team initially assumed.
A normal teenager
The American boy, until the outbreak of his enigmatic history, is a more intelligent teenager who even visits a gifted school. He regularly participates in history and geography competitions, plays sports and also plays a major role in the school theater.
First treatment of the mysterious disease
From the day he was about to change everything in the teenage boy's life, he suddenly developed massive mental health problems, was constantly confused, restless, overwhelmed and depressed. He described himself as the son of the devil and had strong suicidal thoughts – from mad fear of himself. His murder thoughts went so far that he also wanted to murder caring people in his immediate environment.
Finally, his parents put him in an emergency room and the treating medical team immediately prescribed a well-known drug called aripiprazole for the treatment of schizophrenia. After a week in the hospital, the boy was released without the murder or suicidal thoughts he had. Nevertheless it looks slightly disturbed.
The first signs at the age of nine
The doctors learn from the boy's parents that mental illnesses are not rare in the family. At the age of nine, the boy was already suffering from a depressive illness because he was under-challenged in his former school. The then nine-year-old was additionally bullied by his classmates, although he was above-average intelligent but socially completely awkward.
By switching to a much smaller school for highly gifted children, however, the problems disappeared. In parallel, he was treated with an antidepressant. After one year, the drug was discontinued, the doctors report in the prestigious Journal of Central Nervous System Disease of the case.
The symptoms are getting stronger
At the age of 14, however, his condition deteriorated increasingly. A few weeks after his week-long hospital stay, irrational fears arise, he gets hallucinations and unpredictable outbursts of rage. Further, strong delusions define his thoughts in which he has extraordinary powers. Even the domestic cat, he assumes that this wants to kill him. In addition, he refuses to leave the house more often, which meant that his parents had to take him out of school.
Outbursts of anger and fears increasingly define everyday life
The 14-year-old boy lives in a rural area of America, so enjoyed a very nature-loving life with walks, gardening and the care of the animals of the in-house zoo. A few months after the onset of the illness, his mother quit her job to have more time for the boy. At the same time, his doctors are trying to get a handle on the problems with the most diverse medicines. They prescribe antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics – often in combination. But the problems persist.
Eleven-week hospitalization yielded no results
After months of helplessness his condition worsens more and more clearly and his parents bring the teenager again to the hospital. This time he spends eleven weeks there, in which the doctors are examining him from head to toe. From scanning the brain to blood tests and watching his nerve cells, but in vain. No test could provide clear results.
Appearing streaks on the skin
When her son returns home, parents notice that redness covers his skin like stretch marks or stretch marks.
After a long ordeal – finally a diagnosis
Another week later, the stripes bring a physician to the decisive idea. The redness does not run like typical stretch marks in places where the skin is under tension. Instead, they formed on the thighs and armpits. In addition, the color is unusual.
Instead of suggesting a growth spurt or weight fluctuations, the stripes are typical of another, very rare disease, a neuroballoonellosis, in which bacteria affect the nerves. The pathogens (Bartonella henselae) are transmitted by bites and scratching of cats. The diagnosis fits the boy's experiences. Before the problems started, two cats adopted by the family attacked him.
Two years and countless medicines later
The doctors then prescribe the boy an antibiotic. Nevertheless, two months later, there are still traces of the bacteria in the boy's blood. Only with four other antibiotics, the treatment finally suggests. His mental problems disappear, and the skin streaks are formed back. Gradually, the neurological drugs can be discontinued. More than half a year later, there are no more bacteria in his body.
After a long break, the now 16-year-old can return to his old school, where he quickly returns to top performances. Your child is completely healthy again, the parents report. Since his first thoughts of murder almost two years have passed at this time, in which the boy has taken 27 different drugs.
Cat scratchers must always be cleaned
Bartonella Henselae infections are treacherous. Therefore, scratching wounds of cats should always be washed out with soap and water – and best disinfected. Even if they reach the bloodstream like the American teenager, typical signs of a bacterial disease are usually absent. In addition, little is known about the neurological course of the disease, because there are hardly any recorded cases. That the boy has developed such severe problems, could be related to a genetic predisposition, the doctors suspect. (Fm)