Cat scratch disease is a zoonotic disease, that is, a disease transmissible from an animal to a human being. It is caused by the presence in the body of the infected person of a bacterium called bartonella henselae.
How is this disease transmitted?
Fleas are responsible for the transmission of bacteria from one cat to another:
By pricking a cat carrying Bartonella, a flea ingests blood containing the bacteria.
This bacterium then reproduces in its digestive tract. Through its droppings, the flea will then contaminate the coat of other cats.
The latter will contaminate their claws and mouth by scratching or washing.
Cats with Bartonella henselae had no symptoms.
Transmission of bacteria to humans
An infected cat will transmit the bacteria, present on its claws or in its mouth, scratching or biting a human.
What are the symptoms associated with the disease in humans?
The cat's claw disease is mainly encountered in children and young people.
Most often, it is a relatively benign disease in healthy people. The typical form is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Initially (about 1 to 2 weeks after scratching or bite), a small swelling appears on the skin of the contaminated person, followed by a crust.
- This skin lesion generally disappears 2 to 4 weeks after scratching or bite, but a ganglion, located near the starting lesion, becomes reactionary.
Healing occurs most often spontaneously in 6 to 12 months.
Other forms of the disease may nevertheless be declared such as:
- Ocular involvement: in this case, the patient suffers from various ophthalmological disorders such as conjunctivitis, swelling of the eyelids and an increase in size of the pretragian ganglion. These anomalies regress in 2 to 3 weeks.
- Widespread involvement: The cat's claw disease then causes a high fever, severe fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches and abdominal pain. These lesions disappear in several months or even several years (the implementation of antibiotic treatment accelerates the cure).
- more rarely, neurological damage may occur. It is accompanied by prostration, convulsions, and even mental confusion. Again, the course of the disease is
Finally, cat scratch disease is much more severe in immunocompromised individuals:
In fact, the bacterium proliferates throughout the patient's body causing high fever, nausea, vomiting and damage to the entire organ: liver, spleen, lungs, nervous system, heart ...
What are the means of fight against the Disease of the claws of the cat?
Adherence to basic hygiene rules limits the risk of contamination by the bacteria: Wash hands thoroughly after contact with a cat and thoroughly clean any scratches or bites with soap and water, and Using an antiseptic solution
Since the disease is transmitted between the cat via the fleas, it is also essential to apply to the cat, very regularly, an effective anti-flea treatment.