Cat scratch disease
Other Names for this Disease
- Bartonellosis due to Bartonella henselae infection
- Cat scratch fever
- Cat-scratch disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.
Your QuestionWhat are the symptoms of cat scratch disease?
We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.
Questions on this page
Cat scratch disease is an infectious illness caused by the bacteria bartonella. It is believed to be transmitted by cat scratches, bites, or exposure to cat saliva. This self-limiting infectious disease is characterized by a bump or blister at the site of the bite or scratch and swelling and pain in the lymph nodes. Other features may include fatigue, headache, achiness, and fever. Although cat-scratch disease usually subsides without treatment, antibiotic and/or antimicrobial therapy may help speed recovery.
Last updated: 11/16/2015
Most people with cat scratch disease have been bitten or scratched by a cat and developed a mild infection at the point of injury. Lymph nodes, especially those around the head, neck, and upper limbs, become swollen. Additionally, a person with cat scratch disease may experience fever, headache, fatigue, achiness and discomfort (malaise), sore throat, enlarged spleen, and/or loss of appetite.
Last updated: 3/4/2009
Rare complications of Bartonella henselae infection may include bacillary angiomatosis, encephalopathy, neuroretinitis, osteomyelitis, and Parinaud's oculolandular syndrome. People with immunocompromised conditions, such as those undergoing immunosuppressive treatments for cancer, organ transplant patients, and people with HIV/AIDS, are more likely than others to have complications of cat scratch disease.
Last updated: 3/4/2009
- Smith DS. Cat scratch disease. Medlineplus. August 2014; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001614.htm. Accessed 11/16/2015.
- Breitschwerdt EB. Bartonellosis. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2012; http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/bartonellosis/. Accessed 11/16/2015.
- Cat Scratch Disease (Bartonella henselae Infection). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/catscratch.htm. Accessed 3/4/2009.