Cat Scratch Disease

Also called: CSD, Cat scratch fever

Cat scratch disease (CSD) is an illness caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae. Almost half of all cats carry the infection at some point. The infection does not make cats sick. However, the scratch or bite of an infected cat can cause symptoms in people, including

  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially around the head, neck, and upper limbs
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite

For people with weak immune systems, CSD may cause more serious problems. The best way to avoid CSD is to avoid rough play with cats that could lead to scratches or bites. If you do get a scratch or bite, wash it well with soap and water. If the bite or scratch gets infected or if you have symptoms of CSD, call your doctor.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Cat Scratch Disease

The following features are indicative of Cat Scratch Disease:
  • macule
  • papule
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • malaise
  • loss of appetite
  • sore throat
  • weight loss
It is possible that Cat Scratch Disease shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Cat Scratch Disease

The following are the most common causes of Cat Scratch Disease:
  • Bartonella henselae infection

Risk Factors for Cat Scratch Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cat Scratch Disease:
  • weakened immune system

Prevention of Cat Scratch Disease

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cat Scratch Disease. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • prevent flea exposure
  • avoid touching feral cats
  • hands should be washed thoroughly after playing with cats
  • avoid rough play with cats

Occurrence of Cat Scratch Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cat Scratch Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Cat Scratch Disease can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Cat Scratch Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cat Scratch Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cat Scratch Disease:
  • Bartonella henselae immunofluorescence assay blood test: To detect the infection caused by the Bartonella henselae bacteria
  • Lymph node biopsy: To view for other causes of swollen glands

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cat Scratch Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cat Scratch Disease:
  • Physicians

Complications of Cat Scratch Disease if untreated

Yes, Cat Scratch Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cat Scratch Disease is left untreated:
  • osteomyelitis
  • neuroretinitis
  • Parinaud syndrome
  • encephalopathy
  • hepatomegaly

Self-care for Cat Scratch Disease

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cat Scratch Disease:
  • Wash hands thoroughly: Wash hands thoroughly after playing with cats or after cat bites or scratches with soap and running water

Is Cat Scratch Disease Infectious?

Yes, Cat Scratch Disease is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • direct contact with infected cat

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 10/14/2019.
This page provides information for Cat Scratch Disease.

Related Topics

Cat Scratch Disease

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