What You Need To Know About Cat Scratch Fever

September 8, 2010

in Cats

Cat scratch fever is still an alien term to most of us. It is also called cat scratch disease. The cause behind it is the Bartonella bacteria. A scratch or a bite from a cat carrying Bartonella bacteria will cause you to have the disease. You will also contract cat scratch disease by having an open wound on your skin or the white part of your eyes come in contact with the saliva of the carrier cat.

A blister or bump usually appears on the area where the scratch or bite happened. This is cat scratch fever’s earliest sign. Swelling of the lymph nodes known as lymphadenopathy will happen next, about 2-3 weeks after when the scratch or bite has happened. This occurs at the lymph nodes located around the scratch or bite site. These 2 signs are the ones most commonly associated with the disease.

Experiencing fatigue is another common sign related to cat scratch disease. One will also experience aches throughout the body and pain in the head. Fever can also be manifested by the disease, although not in all cases.

A swollen spleen and a ruptured lymph node draining into the skin are the less typical signs and symptoms of the disease. Others include developing a sore throat, loss of appetite and a decrease in weight.

Knowing these signs and symptoms is therefore necessary so that you can seek medical attention immediately. If the classic signs of cat scratch fever are seen, then your physician will try to diagnose you if you have cat scratch disease. A physical examination or an ultrasound may reveal an enlarged spleen. The Bartonella henselae IFA test is a highly accurate test for confirmation of being infected with Bartonella bacteria. Lymph node biopsy can also be done.

The majority of cat scratch fever cases are not that serious and medical treatment is not usually necessary. A person with an intact immune system usually recovers completely without needing any treatment or medication. However, people with a suppressed immune system like those who have AIDS or people who have cancer under chemotherapy will need an antibiotic treatment like Azithromycin.

Make it a priority to seek medical help at once if you have been bitten or scratched by a cat to prevent such conditions like neuroretinitis, osteomyelitis and encephalopathy from occurring.

John Harrington has been in the field of cat scratch disease for a long time and maintains a website about cat scratch fever treatment where you can get answers to the rest of your questions.

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