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Cat Scratch Disease (cont.)

Cat Scratch Disease Cause

Bartonella henselae is a pleomorphic (multishaped), often curved-shaped Gram-negative bacterium that is responsible for the vast majority of CSD. The organisms require special laboratory conditions to be cultured so they are not routinely isolated from patient samples. These bacteria were identified in 1985 as causing CSD; the newly identified bacteria were classified first as Rochalimaea henselae but were later classified as Bartonella henselae because of genetic differences from Rochalimaea. The organisms are also found in cat fleas. The CDC estimates that about 40% of all cats carry Bartonella henselae at some point in their life. Fleas pass the bacteria to cats in a flea-cat-flea cycle, and the organisms have been detected in cat saliva and on cat claws.

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