A kitten causes a rare and serious infection in a teenage girl's bones A kitten causes a rare and serious infection in a teenage girl's bones

A kitten causes a rare and serious infection in a teenage girl's bones

A kitten causes a rare and serious infection in a teenage girl's bones
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Medical reports indicate that a cat transmitted bacteria to a teenage girl, causing her to develop a serious and rare bone infection.

According to the case report, doctors in Portugal said that fortunately, once the infection was identified and treated, the girl recovered completely.

Details of the case were revealed in a research paper published by the BMJ magazine. According to doctors, the girl went to the hospital suffering from severe pain in her abdomen on the right side and fever.

She initially reported no recent travel or contact with animals.

A physical examination failed to find any clear cause behind her symptoms, but a medical examination revealed the presence of abscesses (pockets of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection) along the tissue surrounding the spinal cord as well as bone erosion.

Doctors ruled out some possible causes of infection, and a second CT scan allowed them to collect a sample from the abscess, which tested positive for Bartonella bacteria.

At that point, the family revealed to doctors that she had "had a kitten at some point before." With this latest evidence in hand, doctors diagnosed the girl with an unusual case of cat scratch disease.

Cat scratch disease is caused by Bartonella henselae, a rod-shaped bacterium that lives by hiding and multiplying inside other cells, just like viruses.

Although cats are a common carrier of this infection, with the germs lurking in their saliva, Bartonella henselae bacteria, and related species, can also be spread through dogs or parasites such as ticks, fleas and lice.

Bartonella infection does not usually cause severe illness in healthy people, although it can be serious in those with weakened immune systems (some evidence also suggests that it rarely causes psychiatric illness).

The most common symptoms of cat scratch fever specifically are swollen lymph nodes, rash, and fever. Therefore, infection of the girl's bones, known as osteomyelitis, is a particularly rare complication, with reported rates ranging from 0.17% to 0.27% of diagnosed cases.

Because Bartonella bacteria live inside our cells, this infection can be difficult to diagnose and treat successfully with antibiotics. But in this case, the girl recovered completely after treatment with doxycycline and rifampicin.

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