Regional lymphadenitis: Cat scratch disease, a mild flu-like infection, with swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenitis) and mild fever of short duration, due to cat scratches, especially from kittens. There is usually a little bump (a papule) which may be pus-filled (a pustule) at the site of the scratch. The infection is self-limited and usually goes away by itself in a few weeks. It can also be treated with antibiotics, but it can cause a severe inflammation called bacillary angiomatosis in patients with weakened immune systems. A cat carrying the microbe does not show symptoms and it is not necessary to get rid of it. If someone in the household is at high risk, a test to detect the infection can be done and the cat can be treated. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Rochalimaea henselae, eventually reclassified as Bartonella henselae, named for Diane Hensel, a microbiologist. The disease has also been called benign lymphoreticulosis.
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP