Childhood Diseases

Posted by: candy61378 | 2008/10/25


Cat Scratch Disease, the truth

I contracted this disease in 1985 at the age of 7. I suffered for months with swollen nodes up and down my left arm and they moved to the right. It became a systemic infection before my mother was referred to Children' s Memorial in Chicago. They made my diagnosis and the same day they drained (by slicing open, not needle aspiration) one of the masses (it was in my left armpit and was the size of an apple). I had a larger one by my left elbow that was as big as a softball which required surgery. I had drainage tubes in my arm and a huge hole for approx 2 months. I cried every day when my dressings were changed because of how it looked. I do have an immune system that i consider compromised since I have had several staph and strep and other bacterial and viral infections in my life. I almost died from cellulitis at the age of 5 because my mother had no clue what it was since I have had boils since birth. i also have severe excema and dry skin that I have never seen on another living being. People need to know that local docs may not be able to help and if their child has swollen red hot painful masses, they should keep digging and not wait for the docs. They told my mother that my blood became infected and I could have and would have died. This disease is not as simple as the internet makes it sound and people should be made aware of that. I have not really touched a cat in over 20yrs because I remember the bite and I remember every time I see the huge scar on my arm and when I shave my armpit because i have no feeling where they cut me open. I remember the smell (the mass I had was full of pus) it was rancid and made me cry because I was not allowed to look. I also remember the hole in my arm. They tried to tell me not to look but I couldn' t help it, I could see all the way in my arm, it was awful. My dad fainted right there at my bedside as they changed my 1st dressing to show my mom how to do it 3 times a day.
Why aren' t these types of cases on the internet? People need to know the real dangers these animals can carry before letting one into their home around their kids. my kids have never really played with cats because I am terrified they will get it. I know I am supposed to be immune now but the docs told my mom that there was no guarantee....
Anyway, i just want to know if there are similar cases and if so why can I not find them?

Expert's Reply



Cat scratch disease is a well recognised illness. Paediatricians in South Africa are certainly aware of it. Strangely enough a paediatrician friend while on a visit to Sweden visited a children's hospital. The doctors there were puzzled about a child who had the typical symptoms of cat scratch disease but they did not know what was wrong with the little girl.Fortunately my friend was able to inform them of the diagnosis.

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