26. Cat scratch disease
Cats carry the Bartonella henslae bacteria as the common name suggests. A carrier cat shows no symptoms of the disease. The bacterium is in the cat’s saliva and in the fleas that might inhabit the cat’s fur. A bite from a cat can transmit the disease as can having a cat lick an open sore on their owner’s skin. A scratch from a cat can also pass the bacterium on.
A human with cat scratch fever will feel joint aches, fevers, and exhaustion. The area where the disease was passed on may also become inflamed or form a blister. Treatment may include antibiotics if the symptoms do not clear up. Cat owners should cover up any open wounds and treat scratches or bites with disinfectant immediately. Frequent hand washing after handling the cat, especially on skin that was licked can prevent the spread of the disease.