Cat Scratch Fever is more than a Ted Nugent song; it is a real disease caused by the bacteria Bartonella.
Cats carry the bacteria in their mouth and transmit the disease to humans through biting or scratching. Dogs can also contract Bartonella from cats through the bite of insects like fleas and ticks.
Recently researchers at North Carolina State University have linked humans with rheumatoid arthritis with exposure to the Bartonella organism. These studies showed that over 60% of humans with rheumatoid disease had a positive antibody titer to the Bartonella organism. Veterinarians and people who live and work with animals may have a higher risk to develop rheumatoid disease.
People with pets may have a higher risk of rheumatoid disease so it is important to practice good hygiene. If your cat or dog bites or scratches you the wound should be washed with an antibacterial soap and dried with dilute alcohol.
Apply a light coating of triple antibiotic ointment to the wound. If the scratch becomes red, swollen or you develop red streaks above the wound then see your doctor immediately.