CDC Warns Against Aggressive Cat Cuddling Due to Cat-Scratch Fever Threat

The Centers for Disease Control’s campaign against unsafe snuggling continues. While we’re sure the CDC loves love, it also wants to prevent you from picking up an infectious disease.

An illness it’s currently concerned about is cat-scratch fever, a very real disease spread by infected cats.

According to CBS News, the number of pet cats harboring the cat-scratch fever bacteria known as Bartonella hensela is about 35 percent, but most do not pass it on to their owners. Regardless, the CDC still wants cat lovers to know the risks that come with catching the disease, and how to protect against it.

The CDC released a report this month estimating that each year about 12,000 Americans are diagnosed with cat-scratch fever, which is transmitted by a cat bite or scratch, and out of those infected roughly 500 require hospitalization. The numbers were highest in children ages 5 to 9, who live in southern states.

A human with cat-scratch fever can experience headache, fever and swollen lymph nodes, all the way to more serious brain and heart complications.

To avoid picking up the disease, the CDC advises all cat owners to handle their pets carefully, never teach them to bite or scratch and avoid aggressive play. It’s also helpful to get in the practice of washing your hands after handling your cat. Since fleas are connected to the spread of the disease, it’s also smart to treat your feline with flea medication, even if you keep him indoors. read more…

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