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Cat scratch disease: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

It is known as cat scratch disease, an infection caused by a bacterium, which is thought to be transmitted by bites or scratches from cats since 90% of patients were in the previous contact with these animals. However, it is incorrect to think that all cats can cause this pathology to develop.

This infectious disorder can be acquired anywhere in the world and by anyone. However, it is more common in children during the fall and winter, and it is believed that it may be due to children being less careful when playing with cats. If you want to know more about this alteration, in the following FastlyHealarticle you will find all the information related to cat scratch disease: symptoms and treatment .

How Cat Scratch Disease Is Spread

The cause of cat scratch disease is a bacterium of the genus Bartonella, especially the species Bartonella henselae. This bacterium can be found so far in felines as its only reservoir host, without it being necessary for this animal to develop any symptoms or the disease as such, but if they are carriers of the active bacteria for months.

A healthy cat can be infected through the feces of fleas in a cat with Bartonella, but it has not been proven that these fleas can infect humans, nor that the disease is transmitted between people. When a cat is infected with Bartonella, it is considered that it can send the bacterium through the wounds it makes when biting or scratching the person. However, it is also possible that it is acquired by the contact of the animal’s saliva with the mucous membranes of the human, such as the nose or eyes, for example, in those that allow their pet to lick their face.

As soon as the bacterium manages to enter the body, passing the defense barriers and finding the necessary means for its reproduction and causing the infection, it may take about a week or even more time from the bite or scratch until the person shows symptoms, for what some do not associate the disease with the wound caused by the cat and omit that information when they go to the doctor.

Cat scratch disease: symptoms

A person who has been in contact with a cat infected with Bartonella bacteria may have characteristic symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • In some cases, a fever may go away after about two weeks.

Also, it is common to have a general discomfort and swelling of the lymph nodes near where the wound is located, which can often be painful, tender to the touch, the skin becomes red, and sometimes the nodes may contain pus. It is widespread after a cat scratch that there is redness around it.

Also, the cat scratch disease patient may have a bump or blister at the injured site. This is usually the first sign that becomes apparent, so it is essential to pay special attention.

Other symptoms that people infected by the Bartonella henselae bacteria can suffer are throat discomfort, losing weight, and suffering from loss of appetite. However, these are not as common as the first.

Cat scratch disease: treatment

Generally, the cat scratch disease is not severe, so many times, it may not require medical treatment, disappearing in an interval of approximately 2 to 4 months; however, on some occasions, it can be treated with various antibiotics that help improve the clinical picture.

If the lymph nodes have pus and your condition does not improve, the doctor may choose to drain them with a needle, but if they are severely damaged, they may recommend removing these nodes, although this is not very common.

In those people who have a weakened immune system due to various alterations, such as HIV / AIDS, this infectious disease can be more severe, and medication is required. It is essential to consult a specialist to prescribe the most indicated drugs for each case.

Cat scratch disease: diagnosis and complications

Cat scratch disease can be complicated to detect, and those with a healthy immune system usually recover entirely without undergoing treatment. Those with a weak immune system also have a good prognosis since they can achieve a full recovery if they undergo treatment with antibiotics indicated by the doctor.

Despite the above, patients with cat spider disease who also suffer from a pathology that weakens the immune system are more likely to develop various complications that worsen the general clinical picture. Some of them are encephalopathy, osteomyelitis, neuroretinitis, or Parinaud’s syndrome, and if the patient suffers from a cardiac disorder, the complication that could develop is also endocarditis.

Can cat scratch disease be prevented?

While the most effective way to prevent cat scratch disease is to be careful around these animals, some recommendations can help prevent this disorder, including:

  • Do not touch or play with stray cats.
  • Please wash your hands properly with soap and water after playing with this pet, mainly in areas injured by it.
  • Games that encourage the cat to bite or scratch should not be played.
  • Prevent the pet from licking the eyes, mouth, or skin, especially if it has wounds that have not healed or closed correctly.
  • Control cat fleas regularly to reduce the risk of being a carrier of the bacteria that causes this disease.
  • Cut and keep the cat’s nails clean constantly.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Cat scratch disease: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Immune system category .

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