Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Is Cat Scratch Fever A Real Thing

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In humans, a kiss of a warm forehead may give you a clue. But you cant tell if your cat has a fever by feeling for a warm, dry nose, as many people believe. The only way to know for sure with either a human or a cat is to take its temperature. A normal temperature in cats ranges from 100.4º to 102.5º Fahrenheit.

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 CDC, 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.

But What About Positive Tests

Confusion may be caused by inappropriate use of testing. Many people produce antibodies to Bartonella bacteria, but this does not mean that Bartonella is causing symptoms.

In a study of Italian children, 62% had antibodies to Bartonella but no evidence of cat-scratch disease. Another study found 30% of Germans produce antibodies to Bartonella.

In addition, CDC scientists have certain PCR tests that have not been validated. The scientists criticized one paper by fringe researchers Edward Breitschwerdt, Ricardo Maggi, Bobak Robert Mozayeni, Elizabeth Pultorak, Barbara Hegarty, Julie Bradley, and Maria Correa, as containing serious flaws in content and underlying message.

The Breitschwerdt paper inexplicably claimed many subjects tested positive for Bartonella DNA by PCR and yet did not test positive for Bartonella antibodies. Since a Bartonella infection typically provokes an immune response, the scientists questioned the contradictory and implausible results.

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Other Risks Associated With Cat Scratches

According to Mahaney, one of the most serious risks associated with cat scratches is cat-scratch disease , also referred to as cat-scratch fever. Cat-scratch disease is caused by a type of bacteria called Bartonella, Mahaney describes. The bacteria is transmitted to cats from the bite of an infected flea . Humans can contract CSD from the bite or scratch of a Bartonella-infected cat or if the cat licks a persons wounds.

Flea feces containing Bartonella can end up under a cats nails, Mahaney explains, and be transmitted when a scratch occurs. Once Bartonella infects a cat, it will circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream and end up in the saliva, and can be transmitted via a bite as well.

The symptoms of cat-scratch disease can manifest about three to 14 days after an infected cat bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to showing signs of infection at the site of the wound, a person with cat-scratch disease may also experience fever, fatigue, and decreased appetite.

In humans, CSD can cause pain and redness at the scratch site, , local lymph node swelling, and fever, Mahaney says.

An estimated 12,000 people are diagnosed with cat-scratch each year, and 500 are hospitalized, the CDC reports. According to Mahaney, if untreated, CSD can cause enlargement of the spleen, thickening of the heart valve, encephalitis , and other ailments.

Fake Bartonella Photos Flood The Internet

Cat Scratch Fever Is Real And The CDC Thinks Your Kid ...

Cat-scratch disease is caused by infection with bacteria called Bartonella henselae. According to the CDC, typical symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever may be present
  • Enlarged, tender lymph nodes that develop 13 weeks after exposure
  • A papule or pustule at the inoculation site

This is a photo of real papules caused by Cat-scratch disease:

In chronic Lyme groups, dubious photos of rashes are commonly presented as evidence of Bartonella infection. In reality, these photos are typically stretch marks, a common skin condition also called Striae distensae. Stretch marks associated with pregnancy are called striae gravidarum.

According to Medscape:

Approximately 90% of pregnant women, 70% of adolescent females, and 40% of adolescent males have stretch marks.

Actress Jameela Jamil has proposed renaming stretch marks to Babe Marks while Chrissy Teigen calls them stretchies.

Below is a photo of typical stretch marks:

As shown below, a search for rash bartonella on Google Images returns several photos that are likely stretch marks and not skin manifestations of Bartonella. The top hit is from the pseudoscience organization LymeDisease.org.

No reputable science organization features photos like this of Bartonella. One of the images is just a mislabeled version of the Wikimedia stretch marks image.

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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.

Who Is At Risk For Cat Scratch Fever

Anyone who owns or interacts with a cat is at risk of contracting cat scratch fever.

The CDC reports that cat scratch fever is most prevalent in the southern part of the United States and most common among children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. People who were hospitalized were more likely than outpatients to be male, though the majority of people who are diagnosed are female.

You have an increased risk of becoming seriously ill from cat scratch fever if you have a weakened immune system. People who might fall into this category include those who are pregnant or who are living with:

  • rash
  • prolonged fever

A bump or blister may develop on the skin at the site of infection 3 to 10 days after exposure. Other symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, may not occur for several days or weeks. Swollen lymph nodes typically occur between one and three weeks.

Conditions that may be mistaken for cat scratch fever include:

  • lymphadenitis, an inflammatory disease that results in swollen lymph nodes
  • brucellosis, an infection transmitted from livestock to humans that presents with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes
  • lymphogranuloma venereum, a sexually transmitted infection that results in a skin lesion at the site of infection the lesion may become a raised bump or blister and is followed by swollen lymph nodes
  • Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection that has an initial symptom of a bulls-eye rash before flu-like symptoms develop

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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.

What Are The Signs Of Cat Scratch Disease

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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.

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How Can I Prevent Cat Scratch Disease

To prevent cat scratch disease,

  • Keep your cat free of fleas.

  • Prevent kittens or cats from licking an open wound.

  • Wash the area thoroughly with running water and soap right away after a bite or scratch.

  • Tell your children to avoid stray cats.

  • Tell children not to play roughly with any cats or kittens and to stop petting them if they see “airplane ears”flattened ears on a cat are often a warning sign that they want to be left alone.

  • Make sure children wash their hands after playing with a cat.

Unless your child has another illness that weakens his or her immune defense system , these precautions should be enough to keep your child safe.

How To Avoid Cat Scratch Fever

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after petting and playing with cats/kittens.

If you do get scratched or bitten by a cat, wash the scratch or bite with soap and water. You can also apply peroxide to help kill germs. Another way you can help kill germs and keep new germs from entering the wounded area is to apply a thin layer of honey on the wound. Honey is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

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What Happens If Cat Scratch Fever Goes Untreated

Symptoms typically involve fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes. But in a small number of cases, cat-scratch disease can cause the brain to swell or infect the heart. Infections like those can be fatal if they arent properly treated. Most of the people who get seriously sick from cat-scratch are immunocompromised.

What Is Cat Scratch Disease And How Do I Get Infected

Is Cat Scratch Disease a Real Thing?

Cat scratch disease is exactly what it sounds like you get a disease after getting scratched by your cat.

That might seem surprising to many owners, especially since we all know the amount of grooming a cat does on a daily basis. How could your cat possibly be spreading disease?

Cat scratch disease is a bacterial infection spreading through scratches inflicted by cats. Some experts believe the disease may spread through bites as well.

However, there is no need for cat owners to start panicking about their feline friend being a harbinger of disease around the home.

According to the CDC, cat scratch disease instances are rare, and they typically occur in people scratched by feral cats more than house cats.

However, cat owners need to know the signs of cat scratch disease and what to do if they start noticing any symptoms after receiving a scratch.

People who experience an infection with the bacteria causing cat scratch disease may end up in a life-threatening situation if they dont get treatment in time.

Cat-scratch disease occurs due to infection with the bacterium , spreading through the fleas feeding on cats. The fleas transfer the bacteria into cats, and the bacterium gets on your cats claws.

The bacterium may also get onto your cats teeth when they start biting at the fleas. When the bacteria coat the claws and teeth, it enters tissues and blood in humans through cat scratches.

The same studies also indicate that kittens are more likely to be carriers.

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How Is Cat Scratch Disease Diagnosed

Your child’s doctor may make a diagnosis of cat scratch disease by checking for signs and symptoms and finding out about recent contact with a cat or kitten. If in doubt, a blood test can be done to look for a reaction to the infection by your child’s immune system. This reaction usually shows up in the first two months after an infection. In some cases a sample from a lymph node may be looked at under a microscope to help make the diagnosis.

Things To Know About Cat

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The CDC has released a new study on cat-scratch disease, often referred to as cat-scratch fever, aimed at better understanding the epidemiology of the disease to offer prevention tactics for those at risk.

According to the CDC, cat-scratch disease though rare creates a substantial disease burden across the country and disproportionately affects children.

Here are three things to know about cat-scratch disease.

1. Disease: CSD is a zoonosis an infectious disease of animals caused by Bartonella henselae bacteria, which is spread among cats by the cat flea. Transmission to humans occurs via cat scratches or bites. A papule often occurs at the site of infection and swelling of the lymph nodes in proximity to the site of the scratch or bite is the predominant clinical feature of the disease. Other symptoms include fever and joint pain. Though very rare, some severe cases can result in serious events like seizures. Those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the infection.

3. Prevention: The study’s authors suggest individuals can avoid cat-scratch disease by washing their hands after playing with the animal, keeping cats indoors and treating their cats for fleas.

More articles on infection control:

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What Is Cat Scratch Fever Symptoms And Treatment

We have heard the old wives tales, the songs, and the superstitions, but believe it or not, cat scratch fever is a very real thing. And, if you have a pet cat, then there is a pretty decent chance that you will contract it at some time or another.

What exactly is cat scratch fever? Well, most doctors refer to it as cat scratch disease, and its actually a bacterial infection. If you have ever gotten bitten or scratched by your cat, and the tiny scratch winds up swelling up and itching then you most likely have had cat scratch fever.

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Cat scratch fever isnt usually serious and generally goes away on its own. However, more serious cases may require a dosage of antibiotics from a doctor. If you think you may have contracted the bacterial infection, you should wash your hands and the site of the bite or scratch with warm water and soap immediately then apply an over the counter anti-bacterial ointment.

Not every bite or scratch automatically means you will contract the bacterial disease. Some cats are actually carriers of the Bartonella henselae bacteria, and that is the only way you will contract cat scratch fever from them. Its believed that the bacteria is spread from cat to cat via fleas. There really is no way to prevent your pets from contracting the bacteria, your best bet is to try and keep them flea-free.

What Is Real Bartonella

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Several Bartonella species are known to infect humans. Bartonella henselae causes cat-scratch disease because the bacteria is transmitted to humans from a scratch of a cat.

As stated above, cat-scratch disease often causes enlarged lymph nodes , typically in the underarm, head/neck, or groin. This is photo of a 5-year old child with lymph node growth in the underarm due to cat-scratch disease:

Lymph node growth occurs in many different conditions, so this symptom alone cannot be used to diagnose cat-scratch disease.

The human body louse transmits Bartonella quintana to humans, causing Trench fever. The National Organization for Rare Disorders states that Trench fever is commonly found in homeless, alcoholic, and poverty-stricken populations where poor sanitation and poor hygiene often occurs.

Bartonella henselae

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You Know You Got It When You’re Going Insane From The Song Cat Scratch Fever In 1977 May Have Had Its Roots From A Real Disease Spread By Cats

A line in the 70s song titled “Cat Scratch Fever” that was talking about insanity may be alluding to the real thing. Many did not even care to listen until they started experiencing symptoms. Recent research unearthed more evidence on the link between bacteria, which can infect a person through cat scratches, and psychiatric symptoms.

A study titled, “Bartonella Associated Cutaneous Lesions in People with Neuropsychiatric Symptoms,” published in the journal Pathogens, offered further evidence in the theory that a bacteria called Bartonella, which gets transmitted through insect bites and cat scratches but more prevalent in the latter, has been linked with psychiatric symptoms.

Researchers studied 33 participants, out of whom 29 were infected with Bartonella bacteria. Twenty-four of the infected participants reported developing stretchmark-like lesions on the skin, which manifested alongside psychological symptoms. The skin lesions were deemed to be a common sign of the disease.

The neuropsychiatric symptoms of the patients have all been self-reported. The symptoms included mental confusion, sleep disorders, anxiety, irritability, headache, and depression.

The researchers were not able to pinpoint exactly how the participants have been exposed to the bacteria. One thing that the majority of the participants noted was that they had close contact with animals like dogs, cats, horses, birds, and even reptiles.

What Do I Do If My Cat Scratches Me

If you get a scratch from any cat, make sure you attend to the wound immediately, regardless of the severity. Wash the affected area with soap and water, and then sterilize it with a disinfectant solution.

If the bite or scratch draws blood, sterilize the wound, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Coat it with an antibacterial salve and apply a plaster or bandage for the wounds compression and protection.

If you have a cat thats younger than 12-months, be especially careful about scratches. If you have kids around, educate them about the disease, and tell them to report scratches to your immediately.

To prevent your cat from coming in contact with the fleas that cause cat scratch disease, we recommend taking the following precautions.

Keep your cat indoors as much as possible from August through to the end of January.

Check your cat for fleas at least a few times a week.

Control fleas on your cat by using flea repellant shampoos and conditioners, and give them a flea collar to keep fleas away. .

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