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Cat scratch disease is a usually harmless infectious disease caused by Bartonella henselae bacteria. These bacteria are transmitted to humans by a cat scratch or bite. Its typical presentation is a self-limiting lymphadenitis of regional lymph nodes, mostly in the neck. The disease is especially prevalent in children and young adults. Cat scratch disease can be associated with fever, headaches, and malaise, sometimes present itself atypically and in only a few cases expand as a disseminated disease. A swelling in the neck can be caused by many different disorders. In patients with lymphadenitis in the neck and a cat scratch or bite in their recent history, the probable diagnosis cat scratch disease can be made on the basis of clinical findings. Diagnostic testing should be performed when required. For patients with a typical manifestation of cat scratch disease, a wait-and-see policy can be considered. For patients with atypical manifestations, further diagnostic testing and treatment with antibiotics are recommended.


J I Kamstra, E H van der Meij, J G A M de Visscher. Cat scratch disease]. Nederlands tijdschrift voor tandheelkunde. 2021 Jan;128(1):21-27

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PMID: 33449053

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