Cat-scratch disease

Stephen A. Klotz, Voichita Ianas, Sean P. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cat-scratch disease is a common infection that usually presents as tender lymphadenopathy. It should be included in the differential diagnosis of fever of unknown origin and any lymphadenopathy syndrome. Asymptomatic, bacteremic cats with Bartonella henselae in their saliva serve as vectors by biting and clawing the skin. Cat fleas are responsible for horizontal transmission of the disease from cat to cat, and on occasion, arthropod vectors (fleas or ticks) may transmit the disease to humans. Cat-scratch disease is commonly diagnosed in children, but adults can present with it as well. The causative microorganism, B. henselae, is difficult to culture. Diagnosis is most often arrived at by obtaining a history of exposure to cats and a serologic test with high titers (greater than 1:256) of immunoglobulin G antibody to B. henselae. Most cases of cat-scratch disease are self-limited and do not require antibiotic treatment. If an antibiotic is chosen, azithromycin has been shown in one small study to speed recovery. Infrequently, cat-scratch disease may present in a more disseminated form with hepatosplenomegaly or meningoencephalitis, or with bacillary angiomatosis in patients with AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-155
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican family physician
Volume83
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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