Cat-scratch disease(CSD) or cat-scratch fever is a bacterial infection caused by Bartonella henselae or Bartonella quintana, usually through contact with a disease-carrier cat. The infection may occur after an incidence of cat scratches or bites. Getting feline saliva on an open wound or mucous surfaces such as eye, nose, or mouth may also lead to infection. The tell-tale sign of CSD is usually fever and swelling lymph nodes closest to the injured points, typically under the arm, around the ear, or the neck area. The disease is widely found in many parts of the world but is more prevalent in warm humid climates. In the United States, the rate of infections rises in autumn and early winter, coinciding with the rise of kitten births in late summer. More than 90% of the infected people had reported close encounters with cats or kittens prior to infection. House cats, especially kittens which are more likely to have the bacteria in their blood, can be as infectious as stray cats, albeit at lower risk.
Cat-scratch fever is generally benign and usually run its course in about four to five weeks without medication. Sufficient rest, easily digestible food and drinks are all that are require.
Most people with a healthy immune system can expect a full recovery from CSD without medical treatment. The antibiotic is sometimes prescribed to treat a more severe form of infection. Children under the age of five and patients with weak immune system are more likely to require medication than healthy general public. Azithromycin, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, rifampicin, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole are some of the medication that are prescribed to treat CSD.
Although the cat-scratch disease is generally harmless, in rare cases, it may lead to serious complications affecting the heart, eyes, brain, skin and bones, and other internal organs that require extensive medical treatment. It is always a good practice to get a medical consultation if fever and/or enlarged lymph nodes do not resolve in a timely manner.