The scratch fever cat , also called cat-scratch disease, is a bacterial infection. This condition gets its name because people get it from cats infected with the Bartonella Henselae bacteria .
The infection that does not usually cause serious complications, if it can affect people with a weak immune system. Knowing how to detect cat scratch fever can help the infected person receive prompt treatment.
Causes of cat scratch disease
A person may get cat scratch fever after a scratch or bite from an infected cat. Bartonella Henselae bacteria carry it, about 40% of cats, in the saliva of the mouth or under the claws.
Most cats do not show any symptoms once they are infected. But in severe cases, they could have trouble breathing or get infections in the mouth, eyes, or urinary tract.
If a cat that has a Bartonella henselae infection bites or scratches you enough to break the skin, the bacteria can enter your body. You can also become infected if a cat licks a sore, wound or by exposure to fleas from that cat.
Cat scratch fever is more common in the fall and winter when people spend more time at home and playing with cats. Children are more likely than adults to have it.
Cat scratch fever symptoms
The scratch fever cat usually does not cause symptoms in the first days or weeks after infection occurs.
Approximately 3 to 14 days after infection, we may see a small bump or blister in the area where contact occurred, most commonly in:
Doctors call this an inoculation lesion. This injury may not occur in some cases, or an individual may not notice it on their body.
A few weeks later, the lymph nodes near the injury may become swollen or tender.
Lymph nodes are responsible for filtering bacteria and other particles and for creating cells of the immune system. They usually resemble small, fluffy, round, or oval bumps.
If a person has been bitten or scratched on the arm, the lymph nodes under the arm or near the elbow may be especially tender, and redness may appear around it .
Sometimes the lymph nodes are swollen, they may be hot to the touch, full of fluid, or red. They can remain inflamed for 2 to 3 weeks.
For most people, swollen lymph nodes are the only symptom. However, other symptoms can be:
- Abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat.
- High fever
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Joint pain
Cat scratch problems
Cat scratch fever generally does not have serious consequences, but some people may have a high fever that does not improve over time. Others may also experience infections in the bones, joints, liver, lungs, or spleen.
Generally, the most serious symptoms occur in children 5 years of age or younger.
We will need to contact a doctor immediately if we experience the following symptoms:
- The wound that does not heal or worsens.
- The red, swollen area is getting bigger.
- High fever that lasts more than 2 days.
- Intense pain in the affected area.
Diagnosis of cat scratch disease
Cat scratch fever can be difficult to diagnose because there are other conditions that have similar symptoms. The doctor will ask about the cat’s medical history and if he has had any interactions and contact with another cat.
Then the doctor will examine the affected area and look for any swollen lymph nodes. This is usually sufficient for a diagnosis, but sometimes more tests may be needed to make sure the person does not have another condition.
A blood test can be used to confirm that a person is affected by this disease.
Treatment of cat scratch disease
Most cases of cat scratch fever are mild, and a doctor may not establish a treatment, letting the illness pass with all its effects. Conversely, if the symptoms are moderate to severe, an antibiotic may be prescribed.
Home treatments for the condition are accompanied by bed rest if necessary, and an over-the-counter pain reliever if the lymph nodes are painful or especially tender.
Most children can continue with their normal activities, but avoid hitting or interfering with the affected lymph nodes.
If a person has had cat scratch fever once, they are unlikely to have it again.
Study of how cat scratch fever affects pregnancy
A 19-year surveillance study identified eight pregnant women with cat scratch disease. The clinical and laboratory manifestations and the pregnancy outcome of those women diagnosed with the disease during pregnancy are described.
In conclusion, with the exception of an early miscarriage in which the causality of cat scratch disease could not be established, no ill effects of cat scratch fever were found in newborns and no reports of long-term sequelae. term.
Bartonella infection prevention
Cats can transmit cat scratch fever to people, but people do not spread it to each other.
To prevent cat scratch fever, we must:
- Adopt a cat that is over 1 year old, as they are more likely to have the disease
- Avoid violent play with a cat.
- Do not pet or touch stray or feral cats.
- Don’t let a cat lick your wounds or scratch your skin
- Wash your hands and other affected areas after playing with a cat.
Fleas transmit infection from one cat to another. To prevent a flea infestation:
- Use the vacuum cleaner regularly.
- Use products to prevent fleas on your cat.
- Do disinfestation work if there are a lot of fleas in your house.
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