Cat Scratch Disease (cont.)
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Although there is no vaccine available to prevent CSD, there are several ways to reduce or eliminate exposure to Bartonella henselae organisms. Avoid any "play" that may cause a kitten or cat to become aggressive and cause it to scratch or bite. Do not allow kittens or cats to lick a person's face or any area near the eyes or near any breaks in the skin. Keep kittens and cats free of fleas. Some investigators suggest declawing pet cats. Immediately wash scratches, superficial "bites," and licks with running water and soap. Immunosuppressed people may need to take extra precautions and avoid contact with cats, especially kittens. Visually, cats and kittens carrying Bartonella henselae cannot be distinguished from those not carrying the bacteria. However, any contact with cats or kittens with fleas will increase the chance of getting CSD.
Some investigators suggest that once a person gets CSD and recovers, the person becomes immune to subsequent infections, but this situation is still under study.
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