Cat-Scratch Fever – Usual Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention Measures

Cat-scratch disease or else known as cat-scratch fever, is a rather common disease found across the globe. It is caused by Bartonella henselae bacterium in cat fleas.

How cat-scratch disease is transmitted
Most people contracted cat-scratch disease have episodes of scratches, bites, or other contact with cats, especially less than 1 year old young kittens. The disease is found more often in children than adults, perhaps due to children are more inclined to have closer contact with kittens and cats. Adult women are more common than adult males to have contracted cat-scratch disease. The transmitting kittens or cats normally do not appear sickly but healthy and energetic.

Signs and symptoms
Cat-scratch infection is normally mild and time-limited. Most people with relatively healthy immune system will not become overly ill and will recover from the infection without any specific treatment.
The imminent sign of cat-scratch disease is a small raised skin lesion or pustule at the site of a cat bite or scratch, appearing within a few days, though often it is so insignificant that it is not noticeable.
After additional 1 to 7 weeks, lymph nodes(also known as glands) closes to the region of the injury may swell. For illustration, if the bite or scratch injury is on the hand or arm, lymph nodes in the armpit on the similar side of the body may swell. The lymph nodes may developed as large as 6 cm in diameter, and are usually quite painful A low grade fever is common. Other symptoms may appear on very rare incidents.
People with diminished immune system may have to deal with more serious symptoms.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis is made based on cat contact history and medical symptoms in addition of blood test. Sometimes, a sample of a swollen lymph node may be taken for testing to confirm cat-scratch disease.
Swollen lymph nodes can be due to many causes, some are not as benign as cat-scratch disease, so if you have any, it is prudent to consult your doctor.

Incubation period
(Period between becoming infected and symptoms appearance)
Commonly 3 to 10 days for the appearance of initial symptoms – skin lesion at the site of the bite or scratch, and additional 1 to 7 weeks for the lymph nodes swelling to occur.
Infectious period
(Period during which an infected person can infect others)
Cat-scratch disease does not spread from person-to-person.

Immunology
Young children and young adults usually acquire life-long immunity after exposure to cat-scratch disease.

Treatment
Cat-scratch infection is usually mild and symptoms tends to self diminished over several months. Antibiotic treatment is usually not required for general public with well-developed immune system.

Prevention
– Refrain from getting cat scratches and bites
– do not forcefully restrain or rough-housing with cats or kittens
– wash scratches and bites promptly with soap and running water
– do not allow cats to lick near eyes, nose, or lips
– do not allow cats to lick on wound scabs or any open wounds
– control fleas population in your pets to prevent spreading among cats
– usually exclusion from preschool, childcare, school or work is not necessary

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