Cat scratch fever is a bacterial infection you can get from being scratched or bitten by a cat, kitten, or sometimes a dog. This usually goes away without treatment. But it can become a serious condition that requires care from your doctor.
The bacteria that cause cat scratch fever are found in fleas. They are passed on to cats through flea bites. They are passed on to humans through a cat scratch or bite.
Cat scratch fever may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you remember that you were bitten or scratched by a cat, your doctor may be able to diagnose the disease based your symptoms. Your doctor may want a blood test if the diagnosis is not clear.
Cat-scratch fever usually clears up without treatment. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Winn Feline Foundation
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Cat scratch disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html. Updated June 23, 2011. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Cat-scratch disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. 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.
Last reviewed October 2014 by David L Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.