Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cat Scratch Disease Overview

What is cat scratch disease?
A person with cat scratch disease has an infection caused by bacteria that grow in a cat's mouth, called Bartonella henselae. In cat scratch disease, the bacteria grow under the skin after a cat scratch. As they grow, they spread to the lymph glands near the injury (usually above the level of the bite). The bacteria cause an infection of the lymph glands called lymphadenitis.

What are the symptoms of cat scratch disease?
Features of cat scratch disease include a red lump in the skin near the scratch, followed by swollen, tender lymph glands near the injury.

How does the doctor treat cat scratch disease?
Treatment for cat scratch disease may include elevation, wound care, antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.

Continue to Cat Scratch Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cat Scratch Disease References
  1. Chian CA, Arrese JE, Pierard GE. Skin manifestations of Bartonella infections. Int J Dermatol. 2002 Aug;41(8):461-6. [12207759]
  2. Lamps LW, Scott MA. Cat-scratch disease: historic, clinical, and pathologic perspectives. Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Jun;121 Suppl:S71-80. [1529815]
  3. Rolain JM, Chanet V, Laurichesse H, Lepidi H, Beytout J, Raoult D. Cat scratch disease with lymphadenitis, vertebral osteomyelitis, and spleen abscesses. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Jun;990:397-403. [12860662]
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