How to recognize and treat Cat Scratch Disease

The name sounds scary, but is there really anything to be afraid of?

  • Cat's advice

For a long time it was assumed that the cause of this zoonotic disease are germs from the group Chlamydia. In 1983, however, it was found that cat scratch disease was in fact directly related to a bacterial infection caused by gram-negative cane Rochalimaea henseale.

Usually, infection is caused by scratching or biting by a cat or dog. Interestingly, cat scratch disease is most commonly transmitted by young female cats.

It is worth noting that as much as 90% of cases of cat scratch disease (limphoreticulosis benigna) is caused by the cat having damaged the skin. The dog is very rarely the cause of the disease. Animals are asymptomatic carriers - it is not possible to tell if a dog or cat is transmitting the disease. Cat's claw is especially common in children, who are most likely to interact with animals. Infection Rochalimaea henseale it does not transfer to another human being.

The clinical course of cat scratch disease

It is usually very characteristic - the so-called primary lesion that looks like a lump. The lesion then begins to transform rapidly into a bubble.

After a period of about one to two weeks, further symptoms appear - the lymph nodes located closest to the primary lesion appear visibly enlarged. The knots may become molten in about 1/3 of the cases. In extreme cases, it may turn out that a surgical intervention (e.g. incision of the lymph node) will be necessary.

Cat scratch disease - symptoms

Symptoms of infection may include:

  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • fever
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • muscle aches
  • weakness

Cat scratch disease - prognosis

The course of cat scratch disease is in most cases mild - after about 10 days, a gradual recovery occurs. Symptoms of the disease are usually moderate (nausea, sweating, muscle pain). You may experience fever, even above 39 ° C. Complications of the disease are very rare (including encephalitis, erythema nodosum, pneumonia), but they may be more serious in people with a compromised immune system.

Treatment of cat scratch disease

It was found that bacteria Rochalimaea henseale are sensitive to cephalosporin antibiotics (e.g. cefoperazone, cefazedone) and to quinolone drugs (e.g. ciprofloxacin). However, in many cases the disease does not require treatment and recovery occurs spontaneously.


Video: Bartonella neuroretinitis cat scratch disease (September 2021).