The bacteria Bartonellaceae are considered as emerging pathogens, having recently been recognised as the agents of a variety of infections. Profound manifestations are encountered among AIDS patients and the inner city homeless, and if untreated, can be life-threatening.
As Bartonella infections manifest as a wide range of non-specific presentations, microbiological diagnosis is necessary.
The fastidious nature of these organisms limits the usefulness of axenic media in obtaining isolates, and thus molecular biological methods are now being developed for diagnosis.
The aims of this study are:  to gain experience with, and apply, specialized cultivation techniques used for isolation of obligate intracellular baxcteria, to the isolation of Bartonella;  to combine electron microscopy with in situ hybridisation techniques incorporating Bartonella-specific oligonucleotide probes to provide a specific and sensitive method of visualising the organism in infected tissues;  to develop PCR-based methods for detecting, identifying and differentating uncultured Bartonella species.