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Cat Scratch Disease: A Review

Breitschwerdt, E. B. (2008). “Feline bartonellosis and cat scratch disease.” Vet Immunol Immunopathol 123(1-2): 167-71.

Cat scratch disease (bartonellosis) is caused by various species of Bartonella, intracellular bacteria that favour red blood cells. Cats can be infected with five Bartonella species, including B. henselae and B. clarridgeae. Humans and many domestic animals, such as cattle and dogs, can also serve as chronically infected reservoir hosts for Bartonella. Many arthropod vectors, such as biting flies, fleas and ticks have been implicated in transmission of Bartonella to animals and humans. Bartonella infection can cause various problems in humans, including endocarditis, granulomatous inflammation of lymph nodes, and central nervous system dysfunction. Bartonellosis can be diagnosed in cats with serology, PCR, and culture. However, the issue is clouded by the high rate of sub-clinical infections in cats, making it very difficult to confirm bartonellosis as the cause of illness in cats. Fleas are involved in transmission from cat to cat, so the use of flea control products is critically important to decrease the risk of transmission of Bartonella among cats and to humans.
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Related articles:
Chomel, B. B., H. J. Boulouis, et al. (2006). “Bartonella spp. in pets and effect on human health.” Emerg Infect Dis 12(3): 389-94.