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Cat Scratch Fever (Cat Scratch Disease) (Regional Lymphadenitis) (Benign Lymphoreticulosis) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Cat scratch fever, also known as cat scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis, regional lymphadenitis, and benign lymphoreticulosis is a bacterial infection due to a cat scratch most often seen today in people with HIV / AIDS. The disease characteristically presents with swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenitis), sore throat, fatigue, and fever, chills, sweats, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss. There is usually a little bump (a papule) which may be pus-filled (a pustule) at the site of the scratch. Then more nodules appear on and under the skin. As the number of nodules increases, the patient becomes progressively ill. In people with normal immune systems the disease is self-limited and usually goes away by itself in a few weeks. It can also be treated with antibiotics. In persons with AIDS it can cause severe inflammation of the brain, bone marrow, lymph nodes, lungs, spleen and liver. The disease can be fatal in persons with AIDS. It can be easily treated with antibiotics such as erythromycin and doxycycline. Treatment is given until the skin lesions resolve, usually in 3 to 4 weeks. Cat scratch fever is so characteristic today of AIDS that it is an AIDS defining disease, according to the CDC (Centers For Disease Control). A cat carrying the microbe does not show symptoms. It is not necessary to get rid of the cat. If someone in the household is at high risk, a test to detect the infection can be done and the cat can be treated. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae, named for microbiologist Diane Hensel.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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