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This Man Caught a Dangerous Infection From His Cat, and Doctors Are Using Him as a Warning Print E-mail
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ศุกร์, 06 พฤศจิกายน 2015
The disease, called tularemia, causes fever and large, swollen lymph nodes. Doctors say the patient was probably infected through a scratch or bite.Catching an illness from a pet is rare, and people don’t usually have to worry about their own health just because their furry friends are feeling under the weather. But a truly terrifying case of cat-to-human transmission described in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine is enough to give even the most fervent feline fanatics reason to be cautious: According to his doctors, a 68-year-old man caught a life-threatening infection from his sick cat—and developed large, swollen bulges on his face and neck as a result.Read More

The patient in question visited his primary care doctor after experiencing a week-long fever followed by two months of “progressive, painful swelling on the right side of his neck,” his doctors wrote.


That swelling turned out to be his lymph nodes; further tests revealed that the man had been infected with Francisella tularensis, a highly contagious, toxic bacterium. The patient told his doctors that two days before his symptoms began, his outdoor cat had died of what a veterinarian had diagnosed as feline leukemia.


But that diagnosis had never been confirmed with lab tests, and doctors now suspect that the cat was sick from Francisella tularensis as well. So what exactly is this bacterium, and how common are infections? And what’s up with those “giant boils,” as the Daily Mail called them? We spoke with Andrej Spec, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and co-author of the report, to get the whole scoop.What is tularemia?


Doctors diagnosed the unnamed patient in the case report with tularemia, the term used for the disease caused by Francisella tularensis. Tularemia is rare in humans: In 2016, the most recent year with accurate data available, there were 230 cases diagnosed in the entire U.S. The disease is much more common in animals, says Dr. Spec, mostly in wild rabbits and mice. (Cats can become infected if they attack a sick mouse.) The disease can also be carried by ticks and deer flies. Tularemia has been diagnosed in every state except for Hawaii, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s most common in the south central United States, the Pacific Northwest, and parts of Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard. Missouri is also a “hot spot” for tularemia, says Dr. Spec, although he admits that term is relative. “


 I’ve seen maybe three cases in my whole life,” he says. Still, when he saw the patient’s symptoms and heard his story, he suspected right away that he’d been infected with Francisella tularensis.How do humans become infected? Humans can be infected with Francisella tularensis through a tick or deer fly bite, by handling sick or dead animals, or by breathing in bacteria particles from these animals. “Sometimes, a person will be mowing their lawn and will mow over a baby rabbit, and that can aerosolize the infection,” says Dr. Spec. The infection can also be passed from an animal to a human through a scratch or bite, which is what he suspects happened with his patient. The patient had been giving the cat medicine for what he thought was feline leukemia. “If you’ve ever tried to give a cat medicine, you know that they hiss, they spit, they bite and scratch, and that’s what happened here,” he says. Because the bacterium that causes tularemia can be spread through the air or the water, there’s also concern that it can be used as a bioterrorism weapon. The good news, though, is that it can’t spread from animal to human without some type of bite, scratch, or other contact with blood or saliva. “You won’t get sick just by being around a sick animal,” says Dr. Spec.

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Last Updated ( พฤหัสบดี, 20 กันยายน 2018 )
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