Cat scratch fever is a bacterial infection from cats infected by the Bartonella henselae bacteria. An individual can acquire the condition from a scratch or bite from an infected cat. The disease can also be acquired if saliva of a diseased cat enters a wound or touches the white part of the eyes.
Who are at risk?
Any individual who owns a cat or interacts with one is at risk for acquiring cat scratch fever. There is a risk for becoming seriously sick if the individual has a weakened immune system.
What are the indications of cat scratch fever?
Cats can carry the bacteria but they do not get sick. It is believed that cats acquire Bartonella henselae from infected fleas.
Among humans, the usual symptoms of cat scratch fever include:
- Blister or bump at the site of the bite or scratch
- Swollen lymph nodes close to the site of the bite or scratch
- Low-grade fever
The uncommon symptoms include weight loss, appetite loss and sore throat.
Cat scratch fever is not considered serious and does not generally require treatment. In serious cases, antibiotics are given as well as those who have weakened immune systems from HIV or AIDS.
The condition can be prevented by avoiding exposure to cats. If the individual has a pet cat, the risk for acquiring cat scratch fever is reduced by avoiding rough play.
Wash hands after playing with the cat to prevent the condition. Make sure that the cat stays indoors and provide an anti-flea medication to reduce the possibility for the cat to acquire Bartonella henselae.
In most cases, an individual can get better without requiring treatment and those who require treatment generally recover without antibiotics. In some instances, serious complications might arise. These are likely to occur among those who have compromised immune systems.