What to Do About Cat Scratch Fever?

What to Do About Cat Scratch Fever?

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Cat scratch fever is also referred to as CSD or cat scratch disease and is essentially a bacteria related infection. The reason why it is called cat scratch fever is because humans get the disease from cats who are infected with the bacteria Bartonella henselae.Even though nearly 40 percent of the cats will carry the Bartonella henselae bacteria (in the saliva), they themselves will unlikely show any symptoms of illness. Majority of the people contract this disease when they either bitten or scratched by an infected cat. The bacteria may also be carried in the cat fur. Hence, it is possible to get the disease even if youโ€™re petting a diseased cat and then rubbing your own eyes. The infection is more prevalent in kittens, i.e. cats that are less than a year old.

Symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever

For those who have a well-functioning immune system, the cat scratch disease may not have any serious impact on health. A tiny bump or papule usually develops when youโ€™re bitten or scratched by an infected cat within ten days of the incident. Some of the common symptoms of cat scratch fever include the following:

  • Chills and fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Poor appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pains
  • Tenderness and swelling in lymph nodes
Diagnosis and Treatment

If you have bitten or scratched by a cat and suspect the contraction of cat scratch fever, then it is best to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will likely undertake a physical exam as part of the initial diagnosis. It is usually difficult to detect cat scratch fever by looking for symptoms alone. A correct and accurate diagnosis can be made by the doctor through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) blood test. This will reveal whether the bacteria i.e. Bartonella henselae, is actually present in the body or not.For those who enjoy good overall health, the possibility of the cat scratch fever going away on its own is quite high. Till the time the fever persists, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication such as naproxen sodium or ibuprofen to minimize pain and swelling. Hot compression is usually advised too. If you have pain in your glands, the doctor may do a gentle needle insertion to drain out the fluid.


Some of the steps that you can take to prevent the contraction of CSD include:

  • Washing hands thoroughly after cat handling
  • Engaging in gentle play with a cat in order to avoid the risk of biting or scratching
  • Avoiding petting feral or stray cats
  • Controlling fleas to minimize the risk of your cat contracting the bacteria
  • Stopping the cat from licking you, particularly around the nose, mouth, eyes and open wounds
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