Cat scratch disease, Biology

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Cat scratch disease


It is caused by Bortenella henselae, a gram-negative, non-motile bacterium. The organism is found in all parts of the world. The cat is an important reservoir host. Infectious agent is found in saliva of infected cats and may be transmitted to man through abrasion, scratch, lick or bite. It occurs more often in the winter. This disease may be more common in children because they play with cats and bitten or scratched  more frequently. The infection usually remains asymptomatic in cats and they may carry the organisms for months, once get infected. The disease is not contagious from person to person.


A blister or a small bump develops several days after the scratch or bite, which is called inoculation lesion that is most commonly found on the arms and hands, head, or scalp. Subsequently, one or more lymph nodes close to the area of the inoculation lesion swell and become tender. Other symptoms include rash on the skin, fever, sore throat, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache and anorexia. There may be an eye infection known as parinaud oculoglandular syndrome with symptoms including a small sore on the conjunctiva, redness of the eye, and swollen lymph nodes in front of the ear. The diagnosis is made on the basis of case history, isolation of organisms, demonstration of antibodies by ELISA and delayed type hypersensitivity by Hanger – Rose intradermal test. Public awareness and avoidance of contact with infected cats, through washing and care of any scratch from cat may help to reduce the risk of disease.


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