Owning a family or personal pet is a common joy for many people throughout the United States. Among the most common domesticated animals that people choose to adopt are cats. Cats are more low-maintenance than other types of common pets, and they can live either inside or outside the residence. Certain breeds of cats also offer up benefits such as maintaining pest and rodent control around the home.
How do I catch cat scratch disease?
While cats are sources of pleasure for many, however, they also can pose certain threats to you, your family, or anyone else who may come into contact with them. Cats can be temperamental, and often times they may — even unintentionally — scratch or bite people. When this happens, the attacked person is at risk of developing what is known as cat scratch disease (also known to some as cat scratch fever).
Only 40% of cats are liable to ever carry with them Bartonella henselae, the bacterium that causes cat scratch disease. Those that do have this type of bacteria in their systems carry it in their saliva. When the infected felines scratch or bite a human, they are liable to pass it along to the wounded victim. While cats themselves do not show any signs of infection from Bartonella, affected humans can experience many undesirable and painful symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Typically, the first sign of cat scratch disease is a bump or blister on the skin, similar to one that may develop as a result of a bug bite. Over time, roughly a couple of weeks, the individual’s lymph nodes will swell up and become tender. Other common symptoms include fatigue, headache, achiness, and fever. People may also suffer from a sore throat, loss in appetite, or weight loss.
People who are more likely to develop cat scratch fever and suffer from the more severe symptoms include those who have depleted or deficient immune systems, such as those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment. In these victims, cat scratch disease may be fatal if it is left untreated.
How do I prevent cat scratch disease?
If one is looking to prevent the development of this disease, he or she should always thoroughly clean any open wound sustained from a cat bite or scratch. One should apply anti-bacterial ointment to the wounded area and then cover it up with a sterile bandage. If symptoms begin to develop, the afflicted individual should seek medical attention.