Cat Scratch Disease

Cat-scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial infection spread by cats. The disease spreads when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound, or bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin. About three to 14 days after the skin is broken, a mild infection can occur at the site of the scratch or bite.

Wash cat bites and scratches well with soap and running water. Do not allow cats to lick your wounds.
  • Symptoms
  • Skin rash and redness

    • At the bite or scratch site


    Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes

    • Painful when touched

    • Under the armpits, Inguinal, Beneath jaw or at neck, Near the site of scratch or bite, Above collar bones


    Small pockets of fluid beneath the skin

    • At the bite or scratch site

    or Red lesions filled with pus

    • At a bite or scratch site





    • Greater than or equal to 38°C (100.4°F)


    Throwing up

    or Feel like vomiting


    Poor appetite

    Pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat

    Weight loss

  • Risk factors
  • Recent cat scratch or cat bite

  • Treatment
  • For people in good health, CSD will likely go away without treatment. Until it does, you can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to ease swelling and pain. A hot compress can help, too. If you have problems with your immune system or your symptoms haven’t gone away in 2 months, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.
  • Recommended specialist
  • If you have Cat Scratch Disease, then a visit to an infectious disease specialist is highly recommended.

    Contact an

    Infectious disease specialist

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