Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis

Cat scratch fever is an infection believed to be caused by a bacteria that is carried on the claws of a cat. The infection spreads to the lymph glands nearest the scratch. It is common in children and young adults who have contact with cats.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms appear a few days after the injury. First a lump with or without pus or fluid forms at the site. From 1 to 3 weeks later, the lymph glands nearby begin to swell. There may be a lowgrade fever, fatigue, and headache.

Symptoms usually resolve in 1–2 weeks without specific treatment. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Rest until the fever subsides and your energy returns. No special diet is needed, although fluid intake should be increased during the fever.

The DOs
• Rest until the fever subsides and energy returns.
• If antibiotics are prescribed, take them until finished.
• Observe scratches from a cat for signs of infection.
• Use caution when handling cats. Teach young children to avoid strange animals.
• If possible have cats declawed.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop antibiotics if they have been prescribed.
• Don’t isolate the individual infected because the disease is not spread from individual to individual.
• Don’t handle strange animals.

When to Call Your Doctor
• A high fever occurs (temperature of 102°F or above).
• The lymph gland becomes red and painful.
• Red streaks appear near the site of the scratch.

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