BartonellosisBartonellosis, an infectious disease, is usually transmitted by domestic cats by scratching, biting or licking a wound. Bartonellosis is not transmissible from person to person, only from cat to person. The disease is also listed under the names cat scratch disease (CSD), Bartonella henselae and cat scratch fever (KKK).
What is Bartonellosis?
Bartonellosis is also called Cat scratch disease called because they are transmitted through scratches or bites transmitted from infected cats to humans is.
Worldwide most cats are carriers of the Pathogen Bartonella henselae, transmitted through scratches or bites. Mostly the infected cats do not show any signs of disease.
Especially children belong to the risk group of the infection as well as people with a weakened immune system. In these patients, the disease can spread throughout the body and, if left untreated, can even lead to death. In most cases, however, Bartonella henselae infection resolves on its own – without complications or possible late effects.
What are the causes of Bartonellosis?
The infectious disease is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae. Cats are hosts of the Bartonellosis pathogen. Thus carriers to humans. The cats have no signs of disease. Thus, healthy cats can also be carriers of the infection, but this is not obvious to humans.
The pathogen can be transmitted via Scratches, bites or saliva of the cat be transmitted to an open wound on the human body. Cats in turn become infected with the pathogen Bartonella henselae mainly through fleas.
What are the symptoms of bartonellosis?
Symptoms of Bartonellosis develop after a bite or scratch by the infected cat. At the site of the injury develop incrustations, red pustules and sometimes also pus.
A few weeks later it comes to the Swelling of the lymph nodes on the side of the body where the skin lesion is, but it may have healed already. The lymph nodes become extra sensitive to prere. Sometimes fill with pus. Lymphadenitis can occur up to seven weeks after the cat has been injured.
Other symptoms of Bartonellosis are fever, Headache and sore throat, fatigue and Loss of appetite as well as Nausea or Vomiting. In people with a weak immune system, such as from HIV infection or AIDS, the infection can attack the entire body and, without treatment, can be fatal at worst. In most cases, however, the symptoms described above remain, and usually subside on their own after a while.
How does the doctor recognize bartonellosis?
The diagnosis of Bartonellosis can only be made by a physician after an thorough anamnesis of the clinical symptoms as well as findings from the Laboratory pose. It is especially important to know whether there has been contact with cats and whether the animal has been injured in the past days or weeks.
Besides blood tests can also be used in some cases Lymph node biopsy be performed to rule out similar clinical pictures with lymph node swelling. Antibodies against Bartonella bacteria are detected in the blood in the laboratory.
Unfortunately, antibody detection can still be negative, especially in the early phase of the disease. In these cases, a further control examination must be carried out after about two to four weeks.
Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of Bartonellosis. (c) M.Dorr& M.Frommherz/Fotolia
How is Bartonellosis treated?
The initial injury by the cat must be treated with water cleaned and disinfected are. Bartonellosis in itself requires no special treatment or therapy. After two to six months, the infection subsides on its own. Only the symptoms of cat scratch disease are treated.
In patients with a healthy immune system are usually sufficient heat and Painkillers. Thereby the inflamed lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes treated locally with dressings. In case of fluctuating lymph nodes sometimes a needle aspiration leads to pain relief. During this procedure, the fluid is aspirated from the nodes.
Patients can take paracetamol, ibuprofen or other painkillers to counteract the fever and pain. Only in complicated disease progression or in patients with weak immune system, a antibiotic therapy recommended.
How to prevent Bartonellosis?
Currently, there is no vaccination against bartonellosis. Immunocompromised people should avoid injuries from cats if possible to minimize the risk of infection.
A regular cure of domestic cats against flea infestation as well as control examinations with the veterinary surgeon also help as a precautionary measure against infection with Bartonella henselae.
After contact with cats should also be Hands well washed with soap and water become. Especially children should follow these preventive measures. If scratches, bites or open wounds have come into contact with saliva from cats, the injury must be well cleaned and disinfected.
What are the chances of recovery from bartonellosis?
In the case of an infection with the Bartonella bacteria, the symptoms are usually the same: inflammation of the lymph nodes and accompanying symptoms such as fever and pain. As a rule, the symptoms subside after about six months at the latest. there is a complete remission. Rarely does the infection lead to complications. Sometimes, however, the Bartonella henselae bacterium enters the eye through the skin. Causes severe conjunctivitis there. Only with Risk groups, such as the elderly or immunocompromised, bartonellosis can even be fatal course or permanent sequelae left behind.
Long-term consequences of cat scratch disease include inflammation of the central nervous system and neurological problems such as encephalitis, seizures or inflammation of the spinal cord. Other areas such as the skeleton, lungs, heart, liver and blood vessels can also be affected by bartonellosis in the long term.