Cat scratch fever



An illness also called cat scratch disease that is caused by germs that spread through an infected cat's bites or licks.


Cat scratch fever is caused by bacteria called Bartonella henselae. A cat can become infected from flea bites or droppings. Then the infected cat can spread the germs by licking a person's open wound or by biting or scratching a person hard enough to break skin. Most cat scratches don't lead to cat scratch fever.


Cat scratch fever symptoms often start about 3 to 14 days after infection. Scratched or bitten skin may become swollen and change color. Round, raised lumps that leak pus may form. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, less appetite and extreme tiredness. Later, the lymph nodes may feel tender, painful and swollen.


Cat scratch fever treatment involves taking medicines called antibiotics that get rid of germs. But treatment usually isn't needed unless the illness causes serious symptoms. Rarely, hospital care is needed if cat scratch fever leads to complications with organs such as the brain or heart.