Cat Scratch Disease: Immunocompromised Patient Gets Fatal Infection after Being Scratched by Own Cat

An immunocompromised patient developed fatal blood poisoning (septicemia) after being scratched by his cat, in a case that was reported by the BMJ case report. It is a growing phenomenon, according to doctors.

Cat Scratching

Cat Scratching

people with immunity problems should be informed of the risks of owning animals

“The likelihood of zoonotic infections increases with the number of households where companion animals are kept,” the experts write. “Although these infections pass on their own in most healthy people, they are more severe in people with weakened immune systems,” they explain.

Read Also: Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome: Is it Love or an Infection?

“This case illustrates the need for a detailed history, including the history of the pet, in immunocompromised patients with fevers of unknown origin,” they warn. “People with immunodeficiency also need to be better informed about the risks of pet ownership,” they stress.

Cat scratch disease

The most common symptoms of Cat scratch disease are fever, enlarged and tender lymph nodes that appear between 1 to 3 weeks after the initial exposure.  Crusting can also form at the site of the scratch. In the United States, most of the cases occur in children under 15 years of age.

The septicemia reported in this case study was likely caused by cat-scratch disease. Known as “benign lymphatic inoculation,” it is an infection caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae. It is transmitted from cat to cat through fleas and lives primarily in the oral cavity of pets.

NB: Bartonella bacteria can be found in the blood of up to a 3rd of healthy cats.

Read Also: Antibiotics Must Be Prescribed Carefully for Skin Infections to Avoid a Health Crisis

Cat scratch disease is the most common disease transmitted through scratching by cats. It can also be spread by biting a cat or licking a skin wound (e.g., a child’s leg). It mainly affects children and adults under the age of 20, as well as people with immunosuppression (e.g., cancer, HIV, or immunosuppressive treatment).

When removing the animal is out of the question one way to limit the spread of Bartonella henselae is to regularly control fleas in your cat. It is also recommended to get the animal tested periodically for all infectious diseases including those that could affect the human owner. Cats that have the bacteria can be treated with antibiotics.

Read Also: Pets May Reflect the Health Status of Their Owners According to Study


Cat scratch disease sepsis in an immunocompromised patient



Want to Stay Informed?

Join the Gilmore Health News Newsletter!

Want to live your best life?

Get the Gilmore Health Weekly newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.

By clicking "Subscribe," I agree to the Gilmore Health and . I also agree to receive emails from Gilmore Health and I understand that I may opt out of Gilmore Health subscriptions at any time.