(Mirror Daily, United States) There is an intense debate going on about cats spreading diseases. Some specialists believe that feline owners are exposed to severe risks due to cats’ bites and scratches. On the other hand, there are other experts who don’t consider cats to be a major health risk. However, how did the hysteria about cats spreading diseases started?
Cats can be infected with diseases by fleas, and the cute animals can further transmit the disease to humans through scratches and bites. Researchers also point out that the infection can be transmitted if the cat licks the owner’s open wounds. The condition is called cat-scratch disease.
A new report has recently been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have studied thousands and thousands of cases reported between 2005 and 2013. In the time span of eight years, there were more than twelve hundred thousand identified cases of the cat-scratch disease. What’s more, over five hundred of the patients had to be hospitalized.
The symptoms can appear two weeks after the contamination has already occurred. Patients can experience headache, fever, and even exhaustion, all caused by a mere scratch. Children and elderly people are prone to the disease more than adults, due to their weak immune systems.
Cats spreading diseases are infected with a bacterium called Bartonella henselae. According to officials, kittens that haven’t reached one year of age are more likely to transmit the cat-scratch disease to people. So kittens are considered to be more dangerous only because they are more playful, and tend to scratch and bite more often.
However, researchers don’t tend to alarm cat owners. Although cases of cats spreading diseases have been reported, people shouldn’t get worried about their furry friends. Specialists advise people to wash their hands with soap after being scratched by a cat. A significant number of cats’ scratches and bites do not lead to an infection.
Moreover, specialists also inform cat owners that it is mostly stray cats those which tend to spread the disease. Nevertheless, their suggestion is that everyone should take their cat to the vet on a regular basis. The felines can be administered medication which can keep fleas away from them, but the procedure must be followed every month.
The specialists’ conclusion is that you shouldn’t worry if you own a cat. Infections are real, but are very rare, so there are small chances that your pet should be one of the cats spreading diseases. However, you shouldn’t neglect its health and grooming treatment.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia
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