Cat scratch disease is a disease that is transmitted to humans, especially from kittens, especially children. Let’s get to know the symptoms, possible treatment and prevention.
Sometimes, our cat can complicate our life a little, with its instinctive movements and its slightly excessive reactions, perhaps caught by the fear of something or when it feels too agitated. When he cannot control himself, he may sometimes react by scratching or biting and, in this case, there is a risk that he will transmit a disease to us. Let’s see, together, what cat scratch disease is, with what symptoms it manifests itself and what its treatment consists of.
Cat scratch disease: what you need to know
It is a feline disease that can be transmitted to humans. Plenty of domestic cats around the world suffer from it, but not all of them have symptoms. Let’s read more in the article.
Feline “scratching” disease is precisely a bacterial infection. The bacterium in question is called Bartonella henselae. The subjects who are most infected by the cat’s disease are children, due to the close contact with the furry one (usually a kitten), they are easily exposed to the infection. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the infection occurs through the bite or scratch caused by the infected kitten. It is a particular infection, since not all cats affected by it show symptoms, therefore the transmission of the disease is more risky if you are dealing with stray cats.
This contagious pathology is transmitted from one cat to another through fleas, it occurs in the affected man with the transmission of this bacterium under the skin. Scratching disease causes the formation of a lymph gland, a kind of red button in the area of the scratch or bite. This papule usually forms in the neck and axilla areas, has a crust and can also be filled with pus, and develops within ten days of the accident. The scratch or bite takes two weeks to heal and after this time the lymph nodes tend to swell, painful and leak pus.
Typical symptoms that develop later in infected people are loss of appetite, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. In many cases, this cat scratch disease does not develop different symptoms and this tends to resolve naturally. In other cases, however, of people with previous diseases, such as HIV, AIDS , or other pathologies that already weaken their body, this infection can spread throughout the body and be lethal if you do not intervene in time with the treatment. There are less common symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and an enlarged spleen.
Additionally, people infected with previous heart disease may also experience endocarditis. Usually, this scratching disease takes between two and five months to disappear; it is rare that the disease has very serious consequences , except in cases of neurological and heart diseases that can worsen the health condition of a subject and, unfortunately, even cause death. But how can this disease be treated? Is there a form of prevention? Let’s see together.
The feline and its disease: treatment and prevention
This pathology can be diagnosed based on the clinical conditions caused by the bite or scratch that caused it in the person. Here are tips on how to treat it.
The first thing to do to check for cat scratch disease is to have blood tests performed by your doctor. He will be the one to consider the antibodies present in the blood to protect the body from the bacteria that cause this pathology. When you have a weakened immune system, doctors will opt for a blood culture , taking a sample of the person’s blood, or may choose to take a liquid sample by inserting a needle into an infected lymph node. This is the polymerase technique on the sample taken, for the rapid detection of bacteria.
If the verified diagnosis is not accurate, an additional sample can be taken from the enlarged lymph node, to perform a lymph node biopsy and have it analyzed in the laboratory. The diagnosis of the disease is confirmed in the detection of microorganisms through immunofluorescence. Positive cultures are often obtained from these tests. Treatment of cat scratch disease includes local heat and pain relievers . Using a syringe, in this case, relieves the pain.
Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics, such as azithromycin, to decrease the infection and prevent it from spreading further in the person. In fact, the use of antibiotics is useful in those people with weakened immune systems from previous pathologies. Intended antibiotics are gentamicin and doxycycline, over a period of weeks or months. When you are aware that you have a compromised immune system, you must be more careful in approaching cats, domestic or stray, to avoid damaging your health and risking your life.