Cat-Scratch Disease | Overview

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What is cat-scratch disease, and how do people get it?

Cat-scratch disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria (germs) carried in cat saliva. This bacteria is called Bartonella henselae and can be passed from a cat to a human. Doctors and researchers believe that cats may get the bacteria from fleas.

Cat-scratch disease is not a severe illness in people who are healthy. But it can be a problem in people who have weak immune systems. These include people who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer, those who have diabetes or those who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Cat-scratch disease is also called cat-scratch fever.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 09/00

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