What Is Cat Scratch Fever
Cat scratch fever is an infectious, bacterial, zoonotic disease that is contracted by people from contact with cats and kittens. It seems to be most common in the young of both species. Kittens are more likely to carry Bartonella henselae, the bacteria that causes cat scratch fever, and children and people with weak immune systems are most susceptible to it. Fortunately for your kittens and cats, the bacteria that causes cat scratch fever in humans is one that they may carry but do not suffer from themselves.
At some point in their lives, approximately 40 percent of all cats will carry the Bartonella bacteria. Fleas and ticks that take up residence on cats transmit the bacteria to cats, where it can remain on the skin or be ingested during the course of normal cat self-grooming. The most fascinating conjecture Ive found about transmission is that fleas pass the bacteria to cats through their excrement. Yes, flea poop.
Fleas pass it to cats, who transmit it to humans. There is no evidence to suggest that fleas or flea bites can pass Bartonella directly to people, though ticks can. Though the names cat scratch fever or cat scratch disease imply a certain aggressive mode of transmission, the bacteria can be present anywhere on a cats body. People can pick up the Bartonella bacterium from touch, a lick, a bite, or a scratch.
Will Declawing My Cat Help Reduce The Risk Of Spreading Cat Scratch Disease
There is NO evidence that declawing cats decreases the risk of transmission of B. henselae to humans! Declawing is NOT recommended. Neither is treating your cat with a course of antibiotics, just to be safe. What IS recommended is to keep your cat flea-free and avoid or prevent situations that may result in cat bites and scratches. Remember, B. henselae is transmitted to humans through contact with infected flea dirt. Contact is possible in many ways from cat scratches, as the flea dirt may lie under the claws; cat bites, as the organisms may be present in the cats saliva ; and from getting flea dirt on your hands and transferring it into an eye or open wound. Effective flea treatment and prevention products are recommended and available from your veterinarian.
I Have A Medical Condition That Affects My Immune System Should I Give My Cat Away
If youre HIV-positive, are being treated for cancer, or have any other condition that might disrupt your immune system, you can keep your cat. Just keep the following points in mind:
- Keep the cat indoors.
- Avoid rough play with cats and situations in which scratches are likely. Declawing is not recommended to prevent cat scratch disease.
- Promptly wash any cat scratches or bites with soap and water.
- Avoid contact with fleas.
Why A Cat Bite Can Be So Dangerous
Cat bites often dont look serious usually all you can see is a small area of damaged skin, maybe only the size of a pin prick. This is deceptive though as, out of sight, a serious infection is likely to be taking hold, and however innocuous the wound looks, its imperative you get it treated.
Let me elaborate:
Bite wounds contain a mixture of bacteria from the cats mouth and from the patients skin, and cats sharp narrow teeth produce deep puncture wounds, with a high risk of infection and abscess.
The most common organism found in infected cat bite wounds is Pasteurella multocida. Other bacteria which are commonly found include Streptococcus, including Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus, including Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides and Moraxella.
Pasteurella multocida infection can lead to many types of infection, including cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis , septic arthritis , osteomyelitis , and tenosynovitis . Less common are sepsis, septic shock and meningitis.
My Daughter Got Scratched By The Neighbors Kitten And Now My Husband Is Worried About Cat Scratch Disease How Worried Should We Be
Most cat scratches do not result in cat scratch disease, and short of cleaning the wound with soap and water, there is no particular action to take. If your child develops a fever; enlarged, tender lymph nodes that develop 13 weeks after being scratched; or a pustule at the scratch site, please take her to your health care provider. Treatment with antibiotics is usually not necessary but may help reduce lymph node swelling.
Cat Scratch Fever Is An Incredibly Rare Bacterial Infection That Can Affect Humans When A Cat’s Claws Or Teeth Break The Skin Read Our Guide To Discover Everything You Need To Know About The Rare Disease Including What Causes It And Who’s Generally Most At Risk
Cat-scratch fever, also known as cat-scratch disease is a bacterial infection that affects humans, and comes from cats infected with Bartonella henselae bacteria. According to the , around 40% of cats will carry the bacteria at some point in their lives usually when theyre kittens but its very rare that its fatal for both humans and cats.
Keep reading to find out about cat-scratch fever symptoms, the possible causes and whos most at risk for getting the disease.
How Is Catscratch Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosis is based on the presence of three of the four following criteria:
- contact with a cat and the presence of a scratch or lesion on the skin, eye or mucous membranes
- regional lymphadenopathy, after excluding all other possible causes
- positive skin test for catscratch disease
- suggestive biopsy of skin or lymph node
How Common Is Cat Scratch Disease
Cat scratch disease is very common, with over 22,000 cases reported in the United States each year. Ninety percent of those cases were the result of direct contact with a cat and are usually caused by sort of cat scratch or bite. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of cats carry the bacteria, Bartonella henselae, which causes CSD. Have your cat examined by a veterinarian if you suspect your cat may be infected with Bartonella henselae.
What Are The Signs Of Cat Scratch Disease
The typical signs are mild fever, chills, and lethargy accompanied by enlarged lymph nodes and lesions on the skin or conjunctiva . Most symptoms last for a few days, but the enlarged lymph nodes may persist for weeks or months.
Physicians have traditionally been taught that CSD is a mild, self-limiting infection . Although this is true for most cases, B. henselae and several other Bartonella species can occasionally cause chronic, asymptomatic, or intermittently symptomatic illness.
In these cases, a more severe disease can develop, with any combination of the following signs: arthritis, enlarged liver and spleen, high fever, nervousness, pneumonia, and weight loss. These more serious forms of the disease are often associated with an underlying immunodeficiency, for example, with HIV/AIDS infection or chemotherapy. However, at this time, we do not fully understand why some people contract a more serious form of bartonellosis.
Q: My Cat Scratched Me While I Was Trimming His Claws And The Wound Later Became Infected Are Cat Scratches A Special Concern
A: “Cat Scratch Fever” is more than a rock-and-roll song. A bite or scratch from a cat carries particular risks, and infection is common. Cat-scratch disease is a specific type of bacterial infection that occurs when a cat bites or scratches hard enough to break the skin’s surface or licks an open wound. It’s estimated that 40 percent of cats carry this particular bacterium, usually after an exposure to fleas or another animal that was exposed. However, most cats with the infection show no signs of illness.
The most notable characteristic of the disease is tender and swollen lymph nodes near the wound that typically remain swollen for months. Although the disease will clear on its own in healthy people, treatment with antibiotics may be recommended.
Rarely, the disease can cause serious complications, especially in children under 5 and people with weakened immune systems.
A Mayo Clinic study reported that 1 in 3 people seeking treatment for cat bites on the hand needed to be hospitalized. And the majority of those hospitalized needed surgery to remove infected tissue. This is because penetration was deep enough to deposit bacteria into the joints or protective layers around the tendons.
Prevent infection from a cat bite or scratch with these tips:
What Is Cat Scratch Disease And What Causes It
Cat scratch disease , also known as cat scratch fever or bartonellosis, is caused by a bacterial infection. There are at least 8 species of Bartonella implicated in causing human disease, while Bartonella henselae is the most common species found in cats. CSD can affect humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. The disease got its name as it often is associated with a cat scratch. Transmission of the bacteria actually occurs through cat fleas and possibly other biting flies or ticks. The flea ingests blood containing Bartonella from an infected cat, the bacteria replicates in the flea and is shed in the feces. Those feces can infect humans through scratches or other abrasions in the skin, as well as through the eye.
Bites To The Hand Are Most Common
Cats can be unpredictable and may bite without warning. If you have children, it is important to teach them how to interact with cats in a safe way. You should also keep your cats nails trimmed so that they do not scratch or injure anyone who interacts with them.
Make sure you know the dangers of cat bites before interacting with any cats! It is important for everyone to understand how dangerous these animals can be when provoked or mishandled. Take care of yourself and others by learning about this issue now!
The majority of cat bites in adults are to the hands and lower arms. Head and neck wounds are seen in about 15% of cases, and are more likely in young children than adults. Most of us reach out to stroke our cats with our hands, so this is going to be the target for any attack.
Young children are more likely to have their faces close to the cat, so are more likely to be bitten there. Bites are almost always inflicted either by the victims own cat, or by a cat belonging to a friend. Middle-aged women are reported to be the group most often bitten by cats.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- The bite or scratch was from a cat and the wound does not seem to be healing.
- An area of redness around the bite keeps getting bigger.
- Your child has a fever that lasts for a few days after the scratch or bite.
If your child has already been diagnosed with cat scratch disease, call the doctor if your child has a high fever, lots of pain in a lymph node, seems very sick, or has new symptoms.
What Causes Catscratch Disease And Who Gets It
Patients with catscratch disease usually have suffered a scratch or bite from a cat or kitten that is infected with the bacteria Bartonella henselae, a common infection in young cats. It is also known as Rochalimaea henselae. The bacteria is passed from cat to cat via fleas. In the absence of fleas, an infected cat cannot pass the infection to uninfected cats. The bacteria are present in saliva deposited in cat’s fur and claws.
People at risk of getting catscratch fever include those:
- Owning a cat younger than 12 months
- Licked, bitten or scratched by an infected kitten
- Petting an infected cat
- Owning at least one kitten or cat with fleas.
Catscratch fever can occur in people of all ages but is most common in children and adolescents. 80% of patients with catscratch disease are less than 21 years old.
Should We Avoid Petting Stray Cats
As you can see, many of the diseases which affect stray and feral cats are not a major cause for concern. However, we still need to be careful when we encounter stray or feral cats. While we love cats and want to provide them with affection where possible, it is not always advisable. If a cat does not pass on a disease, it is possible we will act as a vector for parasites and pass them on to our own cats.
While the risk of diseases such as rabies are very small, it is even smaller if we do not touch feral cats. This is particularly important if the cat appears to be in any way aggressive. Most stray cats are wary of us humans. However, this may be different if the cat has been abandoned and was previously living with a human family.
Many people leave out food and provide other resources for stray cats. You can do this without having to interact with the cat directly. However, since cat colonies tend to form around available resources, be careful as it may attract more cats to your property. This can increase the risk of disease, especially if there are vulnerable who live in your home.
Animal rescue organizations often run catch and release program known as trap-neuter. This means the cats can be sterilized so that population numbers do not become unmanageable. Sometimes, they may also be vaccinated or dewormed, but these need to be re-administered if they are to have long-lasting effects.
Stray Cat Diseases Transmissible To Humans
See files for Cats
Cats which live indoors generally live twice as long as stray or feral cats. While much of this is down to having their food and shelter provided by humans, an important aspect of their care is down to health. Cat guardians have the responsibility of providing vaccinations and deworming schedules for the cat which will help safeguard them against some of the most common and infectious feline diseases. Stray cats are not often afford such safeguarding. Even the fact that an indoor cat has a roof over their head means they are protected from the elements.
Since stray cats are more susceptible to disease, AnimalWised looks at the stray cat diseases transmisible to humans. This way we can both protect ourselves and also know what we can do to help the stray and feral cat communities.
Cat Scratch Disease In Children
Cat scratch disease is an illness that can occur after being bitten or scratched by a cat. It is caused when the Bartonella henselae bacteria carried by cats gets under the skin in a human. Cats, and especially kittens, become infected with the cat scratch bacteria from fleas. But, fleas probably do not spread the bacteria to humans. Cats that are carrying the bacteria don’t get sick and don’t need to be treated. Cat scratch disease often goes away on its own in 2 to 4 months.
Cat scratch disease is most common in people younger than 20. Humans can’t spread catch scratch disease to other humans.
Note: Cat scratch disease should not be confused with toxoplasmosis, which is a more serious disease, especially for pregnant women. Toxoplasmosis can be spread from cat feces in litter boxes.
Sicknesses Symptoms And Cures List
Sometimes the pet is healthy and the cure is a preventative shot – these visits count as checkups, I suppose. There’s also a Fake Healthy situation, which requires a simple shot of fixitol – the only major issues you’ll find are high temperature and excessive earwax.
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Fever Of Unknown Origin: How Common Is It In Cat Scratch Disease
Cat scratch disease presenting as fever of unknown origin is a rare manifestation that is often confused with malignancy, according to the results of a recent study.
In order to examine various disease manifestations and long-term outcomes among patients with CSD, the researchers used data from a national CSD surveillance study that has been being conducted in Israel since 1991. They defined FUO as fever of 14 or more days without an identifiable cause.
Overall, 66 CSD-FUO patients were identified between 2004 and 2017. Among these patients, the median fever duration was 4 weeks, 52% experienced relapsing fever, 57% experienced weight loss, and 48% experienced night sweats. Involvement of 1 or more organs was identified in 59% of patients, with hepatosplenic space-occupying lesions, abdominal/mediastinal lymphadenopathy, ocular disease, and multifocal osteomyelitis being the most common.
In 21% of patients, malignancy was the initial radiological interpretation. Of these, 32% underwent invasive procedures.
This is the first attempt to characterize CSD-FUO as a unique syndrome that may be severe and debilitating and often mimics malignancy. Relapsing fever is a common clinical phenotype. Multiorgan involvement is common. Recovery was complete in all patients except in those with ocular disease.
Is Cat Scratch Disease Contagious
Cat scratch disease is not contagious from person to person. The bacteria spread by the scratch or bite of an infected animal, most often a kitten. They also can spread if the animal’s saliva comes in contact with a person’s eye or through broken skin. Sometimes more than one case happens in the same family, usually through contact with the same infected animal.
Having one episode of cat scratch disease usually makes people immune for the rest of their lives.
Should I Get My Pet Treated For Bartonella Just To Be Safe
Treatment is not recommended unless your pet becomes sick. Treating Bartonella with antibiotics can take a long time and its considered safer and more practical to let the pet handle the infection naturally. For cats that do become sick, the illness usually consists of fever for 2-3 days, with the cat recovering on its own. Symptoms requiring veterinary care include fever, vomiting, lethargy, red eyes, swollen lymph nodes or decreased appetite.
How Is Cat Scratch Fever Diagnosed
If your doctor believes you may have cat scratch fever, they will perform a physical examination. Cat scratch fever is difficult to diagnose from the symptoms alone. A doctor can make an accurate diagnosis by performing a polymerase chain reaction blood test to see if the B. henselae bacteria are present in your body.
There are several possible, but rare, complications of cat scratch fever.
Continue Learning About Symptoms Of Bacterial Infections
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
How Is Cat Scratch Fever Treated
Cat scratch fever usually isnt serious and generally doesnt require treatment. Antibiotics can treat people with serious cases of cat scratch fever or weakened immune systems.
Azithromycin is used to decrease lymph node volume quickly. Its typically prescribed for five days. Other antibiotics sometimes used to treat cat scratch fever infections include:
Treatment times and dosage of these antibiotics vary depending on each clinical case, but they can last from five days to two weeks. Talk to your doctor about possible drug interactions. Drug interactions are also possible if you consume alcohol.
The blister or bump may last between one and three weeks. The swollen lymph nodes usually take two to four months to disappear, but can last from six months to a year or more. They can also result in other complications.
How Can Cat Scratch Fever Be Prevented
You can prevent cat scratch fever by avoiding contact with cats. If you have a cat, avoid rough play that could lead to you being scratched or bitten. You can also keep their nails trimmed to reduce scratches. Washing your hands after playing with your cat may also help prevent the disease. Dont allow your cat to lick or scratch at your eyes, mouth, or open wounds. You and your pets should also avoid feral cats.
Keep your cat indoors and administer antiflea medication to reduce the risk of your cat contracting B. henselae. Check your cat for fleas with a flea comb and control fleas in your home with frequent vacuuming. If necessary, a pest control agency can eliminate fleas in your home.
Because young cats and kittens are more likely to carry the disease, people with weakened immune systems can decrease their risk of catching the disease by adopting an older cat instead of a kitten.
Many cases of cat scratch fever resolve on their own, but some cases still require a doctor. Call a doctor if you or your child have been scratched or bitten by a cat and experience these symptoms:
- swollen or painful lymph nodes
- the injury doesnt seem to be healing after a few days
- redness around the wound is expanding
- a fever develops a few days after the bite
If youve already been diagnosed with cat scratch fever, you should call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience:
- increased pain in the lymph nodes
- a high fever
Key Points About Cat Scratch Fever
- Cat scratch disease is an infection caused by a bacterium in cat saliva.
- The disease causes redness and swelling at the site of a cat scratch or bite, and flu-like symptoms.
- If you are scratched or bitten by a cat or kitten, it is important to promptly wash the area with soap and water.
- Cat scratch disease can be treated by antibiotics.
Understanding Cat Scratch Disease
CSD can occur if your cat bites or scratches you or licks an open wound on your body. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae, which gets into your cats bloodstream through flea bites and flea dirt. It is most commonly found in a cats saliva and is usually transferred to the paws through grooming.
Your cat might be a carrier for the bacteria, even if it doesnt appear to be sick. Cats are usually not affected by the bacteria and will remain healthy. The best way to prevent your cat from carrying the bacteria is to bolster its immune system and watch out for flea infestations.
Kittens are more likely to carry the bacteria and are also more likely to bite or scratch people due to rough play techniques, resulting in higher rates of infections in households with kittens.
When a person is infected with bacteria from a carrier cat, a simple cat scratch can turn into something much more frustrating. CSD can cause small bumps or lesions with pus on the scratch location, as well as a fever, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and headaches.
Symptoms of the infection may not appear until up to two weeks after the initial scratch occurs, so you should pay close attention to the scratch and keep it clean. Watch for symptoms like swelling and itchiness during this time to ensure you havent been infected.
Salmonella Bacteria: Intestinal Illness
Reptiles and amphibians like turtles, lizards, and frogs can carry harmful salmonella bacteria that can cause intestinal illness.
In 2013, there was an eight state outbreak of human salmonella linked to small turtles. As you might expect, most victims were under age five and owned a benign-looking little pet turtle.
The infections can not only come from handling turtles, but also from the water or containers where they are living. Using gloves for cleaning the environments of pets is essential, as well as hand-washing after handling them.
These pets are probably not appropriate for children under five who still put their hands frequently in their mouths. Moreover, birds, baby chicks, and ducks are also sources of infectious diseases, including salmonella.
What Are The Complications Of Cat Scratch Fever
Most healthy people dont have complications from cat scratch fever. However, people whose immune systems are weak can have complications such as:
- Bacillary angiomatosis. A skin disorder characterized by red, elevated lesions surrounded by a scaly ring. This condition may become a more widespread disorder that involves internal organs.
- Parinaud’s oculoglandular syndrome. A condition that involves a red, irritated and painful eye similar to conjunctivitis , fever, and swollen lymph nodes in front of the ear on the same side