Tip – 21 – Cat scratch disease
Cat scratch disease (CSD) affects humans, not cats.
Cat scratch disease is also known as Cat Scratch Fever and benign lymphoreticulosis. Cat scratch disease is a rare disease that occurs when you are scratched (or in rare cases bitten) by a cat (but usually a kitten) that has a specific bacteria on its paws or teeth. The bacteria originates in the cat’s saliva.
At the site of the scratch you develop a sore or a lesion and the sore may only develop 3-30 days after you have been bitten/scratched. The sore may continue to get larger, take a long time to heal and the lymph glands will get infected usually in the glands closest to where you were scratched (most commonly under the armpit). You may get a fever that lasts for a few days after having being scratched or bitten. As a preventative measure always clean the area where the scratch or bite took place with a disinfectant.
In healthy people, cat scratch disease is normally not serious and it will usually clear up on its own without treatment. If you have really painful lymph nodes that won’t heal after a couple of weeks or a fever that is taking too long to break, antibiotics can help. Cat scratch disease is extremely dangerous to people with compromised immune systems.
If you get cat scratch disease from a particular cat, it does not mean that the cat is sick or will be sick, it only means that the cat is a carrier of the disease. It is usually only able to transmit the disease for a few weeks. The cat does not need to be treated.