A new study from the CDC has found that cat-scratch disease, a potentially serious bacterial infection, is more common than previously thought.
Did you know? That cuddle session with Cleo could be making you sick. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that when left untreated, more people are suffering serious complications from cat-scratch disease. Here's what you need to know.
What is cat scratch disease (CSD)?
Cat-scratch disease (or fever) is a bacterial infection that can affect humans following a scratch or bite from an infected domestic or feral cat. It can also spread when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound. The bacterial infection is passed between cats by fleas and can spread to humans, making them ill.
How can you get cat-scratch disease?
Humans risk contracting the disease when they’re bitten, scratched—and even from nuzzling a cat. According to the CDC, most cat scratches do not result in cat-scratch disease, but though the disease is rare, the study found that the number of people who are infected and become seriously ill is on the rise.
What are the symptoms? Can there be more serious complications?
According to the CDC, the symptoms of cat-scratch fever include fever; enlarged, tender lymph nodes that develop one to three weeks after the initial scratch; and the infected area may appear swollen and red with round, raised lesion that can have pus. You may also have a headache, poor appetite and exhaustion.
How do you avoid CSD? How is it treated?
The CDC recommends washing your hands after playing with a cat—even if you haven’t been bitten. If you do get scratched, immediately clean the area with soap and water and watch for any symptoms. If these do develop, see your doctor immediately. In serious cases, treatment with antibiotics may be prescribed.