Cat Scratch

Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) is an infection caused by bacteria called Bartonella henselae which are spread by cats.  About 40% of cats carry this bacteria at some time in their lives and are most often not ill from it.   Humans get infected when an infected cat bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin, or licks a person’s open wound.  The site of the scratch or bite may become infected and be red, swollen, warm, and/or painful.  The person may have fever, headache, poor appetite, and/or exhaustion, and later the lymph nodes closest to the scratch/bite may become tender, swollen or painful.  Rarely, CSD can cause more serious disease and affect the brain, eyes, heart, or other organs.  CSD is NOT spread from person-to-person.

Cat scratch disease and Bartonella henselae infections are NOT reportable in Orange County. 

For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html.  

Last reviewed November 29, 2018