FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Preventing Cat-Scratch Disease

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Apr 1, 2017
April 2017

CAT-SCRATCH DISEASE, or CSD, is spread by cats to humans. It is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae, found worldwide. The incidence of CSD appears to have a seasonal relationship, possibly due to the mating behavior of the cat flea during certain times of the year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in August 2016 estimating the prevalence of cat-scratch disease in the United States at 12,000 people diagnosed with the illness, with 500 requiring hospitalization per year. The CDC analyzed national health insurance claim databases from 2005 to 2013 for patients age 65 and younger. The incidence of CSD was highest among people who live in Southern states and among children 5 to 18 years old.

Cats can become infected with B. henselae from flea bites and flea dirt (droppings) getting into their wounds. Cats pick up the infected flea dirt under their nails and between their teeth by scratching and biting at the fleas. Fighting with infected cats can also infect healthy cats.

The disease spreads when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound or bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin. The germ can also spread when infected cats lick at wounds or scabs you may have. About three to 14 days after exposure, a mild infection can occur at the site of the wound. The infected area may appear swollen and red with round, raised lesions. There may also be pus, and the area may feel warm or painful. A person with CSD may have a fever, headache, poor appetite and exhaustion. Later, the person’s lymph nodes closest to the original scratch or bite may become swollen, tender or painful.

About 40 percent of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives. Most infected cats show no signs of illness, but on rare occasions this disease can cause inflammation of the heart, making cats very sick with labored breathing. B. henselae infection may also develop in the cat’s mouth, urinary system or eyes. Your veterinarian may find inflammation in some of your cat’s other organs. Kittens younger than 1 year are more likely to have B. henselae infection and are also more likely to scratch and bite while they play and learn how to attack prey.

Although rare, CSD can cause serious complications in humans, affecting the brain, eyes, heart or other internal organs. These rare complications, which may require intensive treatment, are more likely to occur in children younger than 5 years and people with weakened immune systems.

Prevention is essential in dealing with CSD. Keep your cat’s nails trimmed. Once monthly, administer a flea product (topical or oral) approved by your veterinarian; over-the-counter flea remedies may not be safe for cats or humans. Check for fleas and flea dirt by using a flea comb on your cat. Control fleas in your home by vacuuming frequently and contacting a pest-control agent if necessary.

Schedule routine veterinary health checkups for your cat. Keep cats indoors to decrease their contact with fleas and to prevent them from fighting with stray or potentially infected animals. Wash your hands with soap and running water after playing with your cat or handling cat feces when cleaning out the litter box, especially if you live with young children or people with weakened immune systems. Since cats less than 1 year of age are more likely to have CSD and spread it to people, persons with a weakened immune system should adopt healthy cats older than 1 year.

Avoid playing roughly with your pets because they may scratch and bite. Do not allow cats to lick open wounds. Avoid cats infested with fleas. Do not pet or touch stray or feral cats, especially when traveling, since you may not have access to immediate health care resources. Teach kids to avoid stray or unfamiliar cats to reduce their exposure to the bacteria.

If a cat injures you or a family member, wash the bite and scratches well with soap and running water. Contact your health care provider if you notice any symptoms of CSD or infection. If you suspect someone caught CSD from your family pet, don’t worry that your cat will have to be euthanized. Talk with your veterinarian about how to handle the problem.

People who have a healthy immune system should recover fully from CSD without treatment. In people with a weakened immune system, treatment with antibiotics usually leads to recovery. The best way to avoid CSD is to avoid rough play with cats that could lead to scratches or bites.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jul 4, 2022

$100M Reno at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua recently announced the final phase of a $100 million resort-wide transformation, set to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Located across 54 acres of pristine, wide-open space overlooking Honokahua Bay, The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua is a sanctuary for guests seeking a luxurious escape.

Celebrity is celebrating Spring with 25% off Cruise Fares!

There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*

Slideshow
Jul 4, 2022

6 Reasons to Put Lima, Peru, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Lima, Peru, with us.

Daily
Jul 1, 2022

Banyan Tree Group Debuts in Japan with 5 New Properties

Banyan Tree Group recently announced its first-ever expansion into Japan with five new properties across four concepts. The hospitality group’s partnership with Wealth Management Group saw Dhawa Yura and Garrya Nijo Castle launch in June, with two more properties slated to open now through 2026. Another partnership with Terraform Capital sees plans to build Cassia, a property in the ski resort of Niseko.

Discover Egypt in Total Luxury with World’s Most Eminent Archaeologists

THE MOST EXCLUSIVE TOURS OF EGYPT EVER OFFERED

Daily
Jul 1, 2022

Chikagai: Tokyo’s Underground Shopping Malls

For many business and leisure visitors to Tokyo, squeezing in a few hours of shopping during the city’s wet and humid early summer months can be somewhat unpleasant.

eFlyer News
Jun 29, 2022

Three-Day Michelin-Star Dining Experience Launches at Wilderness Reserve

Wilderness Reserve, an 8,000-acre estate of historic and charming properties, woodlands and lakes, invites visitors to its newly launched YOXMAN, a three-day, Michelin-starred dining experience. Four United Kingdom chefs come together to prepare an array of different cuisines throughout the weekend, and guests are treated to plenty of entertainment throughout the experience.

8 Reasons to Visit Ireland this Fall

Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …

eFlyer News
Jun 29, 2022

Rosewood Hotel Bauer to Open in Venice in 2025

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts adds to its growing collection with Rosewood Hotel Bauer, slated to open in Venice in 2025. Led by Venice-based architect Alberto Torsello and interior design group BAR Studio, the property will lie in the city’s historic San Marco district.