Tue, May 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Symptoms of cat scratch fever often ignored: physician

By Hung Su-ching and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A man who blamed his workout aches and pains on not exercising regularly enough turned out to have cat scratch fever.

Dermatologist Lin Shang-li (林尚立) said a 40-year-old man had cared for a stray cat about a month ago, and had been scratched and bitten several times by the cat.

He immediately cleaned and treated any deep scratches, the doctor said.

He ignored one wound that did not appear too deep, though he noticed that it appeared to heal slower than other marks, the doctor said.

A recent trip to the gym left the man feeling a pain in his right armpit and in his back, which he put down to his lack of exercise, Lin said.

Although the man suffered migraines, felt sore all over and developed a fever over the next two days, he chalked the symptoms up to the flu, the doctor said.

He only sought medical treatment when he developed a papule or raised lesion in his right armpit and doctors diagnosed him with cat scratch fever, Lin said.

Humans can catch cat scratch fever if they are infected by bartonella henselae, a common proteobacterium, that can lie dormant for up to a month.

The main symptoms are a swelling of the lymph nodes and fever.

For people with healthy immune systems, the symptoms of cat scratch fever — including sore muscles and swollen lymph glands — will disappear within one or two months, though doctors will usually prescribe small doses of antibiotics, fever-reducing medicine and pain relievers to speed up the recovery process, Lin said.

However, diabetics or people with compromised immune systems should seek immediate medical treatment if they suspect they have cat scratch fever, he said.

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