Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) is an infection caused by bacteria called Bartonella henselae which are spread by cats. About 40% of cats carry this bacteria at some time in their lives and are most often not ill from it. Humans get infected when an infected cat bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin, or licks a person’s open wound. The site of the scratch or bite may become infected and be red, swollen, warm, and/or painful. The person may have fever, headache, poor appetite, and/or exhaustion, and later the lymph nodes closest to the scratch/bite may become tender, swollen or painful. Rarely, CSD can cause more serious disease and affect the brain, eyes, heart, or other organs. CSD is NOT spread from person-to-person.
Cat scratch disease and Bartonella henselae infections are NOT reportable in Orange County.
For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html.
Last reviewed November 29, 2018