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Cat Scratch Fever
(Cat Scratch Disease)
|Swollen Lymph Nodes|
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- A crusting sore or blister that forms over the site of a cat scratch or bite
- Swollen, painful lymph nodes
- Low fever
- Flu-like symptoms such as weakness, nausea, chills, loss of appetite, and body aches
- Some people may develop complications, such as a very high fever or pneumonia. Severe cases have caused infections of the brain (encephalitis), hepatitis, and even death.
- Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen
- Antibiotics—Cat-scratch fever usually clears up without treatment. If your doctor feels it is necessary, antibiotics can be prescribed to help prevent worsening infection or the spread of the infection to other parts of the body. This may be used especially if you are very ill or you have a weakened immune system.
- Lymph node drainage—If a lymph node is very swollen or very painful, your doctor may drain it to help it heal and to relieve pain. To do this, your doctor will put a needle into the swollen node. Fluid inside the node will drain out through the needle.
- The best prevention against cat scratch disease is to avoid being scratched or bitten by a cat or a dog.
- If you do get bitten or scratched, immediately wash the area with soap and water.
- Keep your pets free of fleas.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Winn Feline Foundation http://www.winnfelinehealth.org
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association http://www.canadianveterinarians.net
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Cat scratch disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/catscratch.htm. Updated June 23, 2011. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Cat-scratch disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 25, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Chomel BB. Cat-scratch disease. Rev Sci Tech. 2000;19(1):136-150.
Conrad DA. Treatment of cat-scratch disease. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2001;13(1):56-59.
Klotz SA, Ianas V, et al. Cat-scratch disease. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(2):152-155.
Lamps LW, Scott MA. Cat-scratch disease: historic, clinical, and pathologic perspectives. Am J Clin Pathol. 2004;121 Suppl:S71-80.
Windsor JJ. Cat-scratch disease: epidemiology, aetiology, and treatment. Br J Biomed Sci. 2001;58(2):101-110.
- Reviewer: David L Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 01/13/2014