Who hasn’t herd of cat scratch fever? Still, many Spokane cat owners want to know what it is. Cat scratch fever is an infection caused by bacteria aka Bartonella henselae. Even though approximately 40% of cats carry the bacteria in their saliva at some point in their lives, cats that carry Bartonella henselae do not themselves display any signs of illness. The majority of people contract the disease after being scratched or bitten by a cat.
Given that these bacteria may also be present on cat fur, it is achievable to contract the disease from petting a cat and then rubbing your eyes. Kittens are more apt than older cats to carry the bacteria and to send out the infection to humans. Sometimes people who get cat scratch disease do not call to mind ever being scratched or bitten by a cat.
In people who have an ordinary immune system, cat scratch disease is as a rule not a serious illness. A small papule forms at the site of injury within 10 days. The signs and symptoms that follow may include: chills, fever, vomiting, nausea, inflammation and soreness of the lymph nodes and fatigue.
As the disease advances, more nodules may develop under the skin at the point of injury.
Nearly all cases of cat scratch disease heal on their on without explicit treatment. That typically happens within a few weeks. If the lymph nodes remain determinedly inflamed or if the illness is extremely severe, your doctor may simply prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are given until the skin lesions resolve, generally three to four weeks.
Bartonella henselae may cause a more serious illness in people with an impaired immune system such as HIV/AIDS or from chemotherapy for cancer. In those with HIVAIDS, the virus can lead to an atypical growth of blood vessels that develop tumor-like masses, a condition known as bacillary angiomatosis. This state can cause severe inflammation of multiple organs including the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow and brain. Left untreated, the disease can be fatal in humans with HIV/AIDS.
The greatest way to prevent cat scratch disease is to avoid situations in which you might be bitten or scratched by a kitty. Don't play roughly with a feline, and do not force your attentions on a cat who unmistakably does not want them.
In any incident, wash your hands scrupulously after playing with a cat. Should you be bitten or scratched, wash the affected area well with soap and water. Cats should never be permitted to lick open sores or scratches on your skin—not that they’d want to.
It is not known precisely how cats get hold of the infection. Since Bartonella henselae has been found in fleas, many experts suppose that cats get the bacteria from fleas. Controlling fleas is also suggested as a way to help prevent infection.
If you are scratched or bitten by a cat and then show any symptoms of cat scratch disease, get in touch with your doctor at once. And no, you don’t have to get rid of the cat