Cat Scratch Fever

April 20, 2013

I have met Cat Scratch Fever, or Cat Scratch Disease, up close and personal!  It is usually thought of as a childhood disease, but I am living proof that adults can contract it.  Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) is a bacterial infection that occurs when someone is scratched or bitten by an infected cat.  The injured area becomes infected.  Lymph nodes around the head, neck and arms may become swollen and sore.  Other disease symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Kittens are most likely to be infected with CSD bacteria and because children play with kittens, they are the most likely candidates to receive transmission of the bacteria.  CSD is a common cause of swollen lymph nodes in kids.  Anyone with a compromised immune system, such as cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, or HIV/AIDS patients, is a risk for infection.  Most healthy adults won’t become infected.

Approximately two – four weeks after being scratched or bitten by an infected feline, you may notice lymph node swelling near the bite or scratch, flu-like symptoms and possibly a small infected  sore at the infection site.

Jake on the prowl

Our then one-year-old kitten, Jake, often slept with us and in the middle of a night while I was sleeping on my side, he jumped onto the bed and vaulted over my face.  In the process of landing, I felt his claw hit my nose and remembered it the next morning.  Three weeks later, I became ill with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes in my neck and chest.  The feelings of malaise lasted a couple weeks before I noticed a “sore” just inside one nostril.  A visit to my medical professional and a round of antibiotics later, I was good as new.  The fact that I take a biologic medication for rheumatoid arthritis, which lowers the immune system, is probably why that scratch infected me with CSD.

To reduce your risk of contracting Cat Scratch Disease from your cat or kitten, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, offers the following suggestions:

  • Avoid rough play with cats, especially kittens, because they are most likely to carry the bacteria in their claws or in their mouths.
  • Wash any cat bites or scratches immediately with soap and hot water.
  • Do not allow cats to lick any open wounds or scratches you may already have.
  • Control fleas!  There have been reports of fleas being infected with CSD but no reports of fleas transmitting the disease in humans.  Don’t take the chance.
  • If you develop an infection (with pus and swelling) where you were scratched or bitten, or if you develop flu-like symptoms, consult your physician for treatment.






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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one } December 30, 2015 at 1:15 am

Good info. Luucky me I found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).

I’ve saved it for later!


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