Cat scratch fever is a disease caused by a bacteria called Bartonella, that can be found in fleas and “flea-dirt” (flea poop). It can be passed to humans while interacting with an infested animal.
Most common symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever are:
Wound does not heal in the usual length of time.
Redness or swelling continues to worsen.
Fever lasting for several days.
Painful, swollen lymph nodes.
Bone, joint, or abdominal pain.
Skin rash, fatigue.
If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, call your doctor if the wound takes a long time to heal or if redness and swelling around the wound is getting worse rather than better. Infected individuals may also run fevers and have swollen lymph nodes. Others may experience joint pain, abdominal pain, rashes, or extreme fatigue.
Some individuals have been infected even without any contact with cats, mostly likely while gardening on soil contaminated by wild-life hosting fleas.
Fortunately, the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch Fever is not a problem for most people. But some individuals are more susceptible and the infection can be serious for persons with compromised immune systems like the elderly, infants, and those with AIDS, diabetes, or cancer.
Cat Scratch Fever can be treated with antibiotics, but may require weeks of therapy. Interestingly, the cat itself is most likely unaffected by the bacteria.
The best way to reduce the risks of Cat Scratch Fever is to have all of your pets on a flea preventative. After all, this is only one of the many diseases carried by fleas, and you do want to prevent ALL of them.