Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) Also Called Cat Scratch Fever
One of the most common illnesses people can obtain from their pet cat is an infection called Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) or also commonly known as ‘Cat Scratch Fever’.
Cat Scratch Disease is an infection caused by the Bartonella Henselea bacteria, and is spread by infected cats to humans by scratch, bite, or saliva. It is a relatively common bacterium found in cats, and is most often found in cats in warm humid areas.
The most common carriers of Cat Scratch Disease are usually kittens more so than adult cats, as they’re more likely to contain the disease in their blood due to a weaker immune system.
Cats are believed to get Cat Scratch Disease from fleas, but most cats develop very few symptoms if any symptoms at all.
There are also no long term ill effects for cats that have the bacteria. It is the transmission to humans through scratching or even biting that causes the most problems.
The most common symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever are blisters, swollen lymph nodes, general discomfort, fatigue, headache and fever.
A blister or a bump around the area that has been bitten or scratched is usually the most common and first symptom that will be seen.
Swollen lymph nodes will then occur around the wound within about 2 – 3 weeks after being infected. The most common places for lymph nodes to swell are the glands in your underarms, neck area, or even the groin all depending on where the scratch or bite occurred.
Some less common symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever are enlarged Spleen, loss of appetite, sore throat and unexplained weight loss.
Cat Scratch Disease is not a very serious disease, and will rarely ever need medical treatment, but in patients with suppressed immune systems it’s important to contact a health care provider to get on an antibiotic treatment.
The most common people to be infected with CSD are children, but with normal immune systems treatment isn’t usually needed. A doctor may provide some general antibiotics to help you overcome the disease, especially for children.
Children’s main symptoms are usually swollen and painful lymph nodes but most usually don’t get any other ill effects.
If you or your child start showing severe pain in their lymph nodes and also have other severe symptoms it is important to contact a doctor as soon as possible; so that you can receive antibiotic treatment.
Cat scratch disease isn’t contagious from person to person and is only spread by the animal infected with the Bartonella Henselea bacteria.
It’s also important to know that the bacteria can also be spread when the animals infected saliva comes into contact with broken skin or an eye.
Although there is no definite way to prevent cats from getting the Bartonella Hanselea bacteria there are some simple ways to prevent getting Cat Scratch Disease; such as washing your hands well after playing with cats, teaching kids to avoid stray or unfamiliar cats, avoiding rough play with cats to avoid risk of scratches or bites.
If you or your child has been bitten or scratched by a cat or any pet make sure to wash the wound as well as possible with soap and warm water and perhaps apply some antiseptic cream or antiseptic fluid to the area.
Another great way to reduce the risk of exposure to Cat Scratch Disease and the Bartonella Henselea bacteria is by keeping your pets and house free of fleas and taking particular care when interacting with stray cats of cats that you are not familiar with.