There is no vaccine to prevent cat-scratch disease, also known as benign lymphoreticulosis.
In the majority of cases a human contracts the disease when they are bitten or scratched by a cat, but it can sometimes happen from a simple caress. So it's essential to know how to avoid being contaminated by this infectious bacteria.
This disease is notoriously difficult to detect in cats as the symptoms are often invisible. Outdoor cats are more at risk than indoor cats, so if your cat does venture into the garden, make sure to check for ticks every time. It has also been found that young cats (less than a year old) are more at risk than older cats, so ask for thorough medical records when adopting a kitten.
Cat claw disease is contractible in different ways:
- Bites and scratchesThis is the most common mode of infection for humans. Be careful when carrying your cat so as not to get scratched.
If you have been scratched or bitten by your cat whom you suspect to be infected, clean and disinfect the wound. If swelling appears in the following few days, it's advised to consult a doctor.
- PettingA recent American studyrevealed some alarming facts - if a cat is infected with tick disease, these little bugs' excrements on her fur make it dangerous to cuddle her. The bacteria can enter the human bloodstream through open wounds.
- Through the eyes
If you touch your eyes after having touched an infected cat, you could be contaminated.
It is highly important to respect certain hygiene rules - wash your hands with disinfecting soap after every caress with your cat, especially before touching your eyes.
- Tick bites
In some cases, a simple tick bite can transfer the bacteria to a human.
- Ground objectsPicking up contaminated objects such as brambles, splinters, thorns or wood pieced can also infect a human, even though these cases are rare.
Despite the cat-scratching disease's name, it's not reserved solely for cats. Canines are also at risk of being carriers of the disease.
Cats are usually prescribed antibiotics in order to treat the disease.The study also revealed that children are the most susceptible to contracting the infection, particularly between the ages of five and nine. The next group who is as vulnerable include people working in close proximity with cats, such as veterinarians, breeders or parlour staff.
Preventing cat-scratching disease is relatively simple if you follow the above tips. A regular treatment of antiparasite medication will do the trick as well.