People Are Getting Sicker from Cat-Scratch Fever

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Image source: Krysztof Belczynski via Flickr
Image source: Krysztof Belczynski via Flickr

Cat-scratch fever has been around for decades, but now people are getting sicker from the disease than they previously were. Overall, the number of people who contract the disease has decreased, but the severity of symptoms in those people infected has gotten worse. Fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and fever are typical symptoms, but in extreme cases cat-scratch fever can infect the heart and cause swelling in the brain.

Often, the people who become seriously sick after being infected have immune systems which are already seriously compromised. This allows the disease to spread rapidly, and for more severe symptoms to manifest. Because more people have immunodeficiency now than they did decades ago, this could possibly explain the increased symptomatic severity.

Approximately 12,000 people are diagnosed with cat-scratch fever every year. Want to decrease your chances of contracting the disease? Then make sure that your cats receive regular flea preventatives, and keep them indoors. Cat-scratch fever is present in flea dirt, and it’s passed between cats by fleas. Patting your cat can transfer the flea dirt to your hands, so be sure to wash your hands once you’re done patting your cat. And avoid kissing your cat; this is an easy way to pick up the bacteria contained in the flea dirt on your cat.

 

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