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Cat Scratch Fever
(Cat Scratch Disease)
by Nathalie Smith, MSN, RN
Cat scratch fever is an infection from the scratch or bite of a cat, kitten, or sometimes a dog. This usually goes away without treatment, but it can become a serious condition that requires care from your doctor.
The bacteria that causes cat scratch fever are found in fleas. They are passed on to cats through flea bites. They are passed on to humans through a cat scratch or bite.
Risk Factors TOP
The most common risk factor is being bitten or scratched by a cat or kitten.
Cat scratch fever may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you remember that you were bitten or scratched by a cat, your doctor may be able to diagnose the disease based your symptoms. Your doctor may want a blood test if the diagnosis is not clear.
Cat-scratch fever usually clears up without treatment. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
To help reduce your chances of cat scratch fever:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Winn Feline Foundation
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Cat-scratch disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html. Updated April 30, 2014. Accessed December 6, 2017.
Cat-scratch disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115241/Cat-scratch-disease. Updated August 24, 2017. Accessed December 6, 2017.
Klotz SA, Ianas V, Elliott SP. Cat-scratch disease. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(2):152-155.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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