Symptoms, Causes and Treatment for Cat Scratch Disease | Dermatology

Cat Scratch Disease

What is cat scratch disease?

Cat scratch disease is an infection that can be contracted after cat scratches, bites, or bites. It is caused by bacteria in the saliva of cats. Cats contract bacteria from flies.

Cat scratch disease is also known as cat scratch fever. It is not a serious disease in healthy people. But it can be a problem for young children or those with weakened immune systems. Bacteria can pass from an infected cat to a human after the cat bites or scratches human skin, pressing on the open wound or breaking the skin’s surface. Cats under one year of age are more likely to scratch, which increases the risk of infection. A cat with this type of bacteria can contract it by pressing, biting, or scratching an open wound on its skin.

Cat scratch fever, also known as cat scratch disease (SAD), is more common in children and teens.

Symptoms of cat-scratch disease

A red bump, sore throat, or blister may appear where the cat bit or scratched you. This can happen 3 to 10 days after a bite or scratch. The sore or blister takes a long time to heal. You may experience a low fever (less than 102 ° F), headache, fatigue, or decreased appetite.

A lymph node infection can also develop. It occurs most often in glands that are close to scratching or biting. If the scratch is on your hand, the glands in the armpit or near the elbow may become soft and swollen.

Call your GP if you notice any of the following problems:

  • Untreated cat scratches or bites.
  • The red area around the cat’s scratch or bite persists for more than 2 days after injury.
  • Fever that lasts for several days after a cat scratch or bites.
  • Painful and swollen lymph nodes for more than 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Bone or joint pain, abdominal pain (without fever, vomiting, or diarrhoea), or fatigue for more than 2 to 3 weeks.

What causes cat scratch disease?

You can get cat scratch fever from bites or scratches from an infected cat. You can also get the disease if saliva from an infected cat gets into an open wound or touches the whites of your eyes. Occasionally, you can get the disease from flies or a bacteria-carrying tick. You cannot get cat scratch disease from another human being.

About 40% of cats and kittens carry Bartonella tensile in their mouths or under their paws. They get it by scratching or biting infected flies. They can also get it by fighting other cats that have it.

Most infected cats have no symptoms. But in severe cases, they may have difficulty breathing or land with infections in the mouth, eyes, or urinary tract.

If bitten or scratched while Bartonella Hensley breaks down the cat’s fur, the bacteria can enter its body. It can also become infected if the cat grabs its throat, wound, or scab.

Who is at risk of cat scratch disease?

 Anyone who owns or contacts a cat is at risk for cat scratch fever.

The CDC reports that cat scratch fever is most common in the southern United States and is most common in children ages 5 to 9. Those admitted to the hospital were more likely to be men than women, although the majority of those diagnosed were women.

If you have a weakened immune system, you are at risk of becoming seriously ill from cat scratch fever. People who fall into this category are pregnant or living:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Organ transplant


If your doctor thinks you have cat scratch fever, he or she will perform a physical exam. Cat scratch is difficult to diagnose from fever symptoms alone. Your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) blood test to find out if you have the B. bacteria therefore in your body. Diagnosis is based on a complete history, which includes a history drawn by the cat or kitten, a physical exam, and sometimes blood tests.

How is cat scratch disease treated?

Cat scratch fever is not usually serious and does not usually require treatment. Antibiotics can treat people with cat scratch fever or a weakened immune system. Azithromycin (Zithromax) is used to rapidly shrink the lymph nodes. Usually, it is prescribed for five days. Other antibiotics that are sometimes used to treat cat scratch fever infections:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Rifampicin (Rifadin)
  • Tetracycline (sumac)
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (bacteria, Septra)

The treatment time and the dose of these antibiotics vary according to each clinical case but range from five days to two weeks. Talk to your doctor about drug interactions. Interactive interactions are also possible if you drink alcohol.

The blister or lump lasts between one and three weeks. Swollen lymph nodes usually take two to four months to go away, but can last six months to a year or more. They can also cause other problems.

Your healthcare provider will find the best treatment based on:

  • How old are you?
  • All your medical and health history
  • How sick are you
  • To what extent can you administer specific medications, procedures, or treatments
  • How long is this situation expected to last?
  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

Antibiotics (to treat infections)

Looking for symptoms caused by an infection. In most cases, antibiotics are not needed and the infection goes away on its own.


Most healthy people do not have a problem with cat scratch fever. However, people with weakened immune systems (people with HIV / AIDS, people receiving chemotherapy, or people with diabetes) may have problems with:

Bacillary angiomatosis. The skin disorder is surrounded by raised red lesions. This condition can develop into a more generalized disorder that affects internal organs.

Conjunctivitis (pink eye), fever, and swollen lymph nodes in front of the ear on the same side with a red, irritated, and painful eye condition

How can cat scratch fever be prevented?

You can prevent cat scratch fever by avoiding contact with cats. If you have a cat, avoid rough play that could lead to scratching or biting. You can trim their nails to reduce scratches. Washing your hands after playing with your cat can also help prevent illness. Do not allow your cat to press or scratch your eyes, mouth, or open wounds. You and your pets should also stay away from kittens.

Keep your cat indoors and give him antifungal medications to reduce the risk of infection. Check your cat with a flea comb and control flies in your home with frequent vacuuming. If necessary, a pest control agency can remove the flies from your home.

Because small cats and kittens are more likely to carry the disease, people with weakened immunity can reduce their risk of contracting the disease by adopting an older cat instead of a kitten.

When should I call a doctor?

Many cases of cat scratch fever resolve on their own, but in some cases, they still require a doctor. If you or your child are bitten or bitten by a cat, call a doctor, and experience these symptoms:

  • Swollen or painful lymph nodes
  • The wound doesn’t seem to heal after a few days.
  • The redness spreads around the wound.
  • The fever comes a few days after the bite.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with cat scratch fever, you should call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Increased pain in the lymph nodes
  • High fever
  • Feeling sick
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