What is cat scratch fever?
Cat scratch fever is a bacterial infection that people can get from being scratched or bitten by a cat. The disease is caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae, which is found in the saliva of cats.
Despite its name, cat scratch fever isn’t actually that common – only about 3000-4000 cases are reported in the US each year. However, it’s important to be aware of the disease just in case you do come into contact with it.
How does a person contract this infection?
The bacteria that cause cat scratch fever is found in the saliva of cats and can be transmitted through scratches or bites from infected animals. It’s important to keep your pets healthy by keeping them up-to-date on their vaccinations and practicing good hygiene habits like washing your hands after contact with an animal.
What are the symptoms of cat scratch fever?
Cat Scratch Fever (CSF) symptoms may take weeks or even months to develop after exposure to the bacterium – making it hard to determine where or when one may have contracted it in the first place! These include high fever (often as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit), extreme fatigue/exhaustion lasting for days on end no matter how much sleep one gets; headaches which come on suddenly and severely without any warning whatsoever; enlarged lymph nodes all over, especially around the head/neck area; an overall feeling of malaise or “just not being right”; plus other assorted issues such as skin rashes (most typically appearing looking like red pimples) anywhere on your body surface…and this is just naming SOME of them! Untreated CSF has even been known to lead to death in some rare cases – so if ANY OF these sound familiar AT ALL, then go see your family physician post-haste for proper diagnosis & treatment plan ASAP!
Cat scratch fever treatment
In most cases, cat scratch fever resolves without any treatment at all. For those cases that do require treatment, antibiotics are not necessary and may even be harmful. Alternative therapies such as rest and fluids are typically adequate for treating cat scratch fever.
“Cat scratch fever is a very mild illness for most people,” said Dr. Jane Bikoff of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases “For the vast majority of people who get it-and that would be more than 95 percent-it’s a self-limited disease with symptoms like headache and fatigue that go away within two to four weeks without any specific therapy.”
“The mainstay of therapy for Bartonella henselae infections is supportive care,” according to an article published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews. “This includes hydration, analgesics if needed , antipyretics if needed, rest, and nutritional support.”
In other words, there is no need for antibiotics in the vast majority of cases when someone contracts cat scratch fever. The few exceptions might be people with weakened immune systems who develop more serious symptoms or those who don’t show signs of improvement after several weeks.