Correspondent Jim Chenevey

(CBS) – Federal health officials are putting out a warning about soft, cuddly kittens — they could kill you.

The CDC says there’s been a significant increase in reported cases of a bacterial infection commonly known as cat-scratch fever.

Cats do carry a rare bacteria in their mouths that can cause chronic infections in humans.

Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, brain swelling, headaches and swollen lymph nodes.

Some 12,000 Americans succumb to cat-scratch disease every year – most of them contracting it through contact with their pet cats. And apparently, kittens are the worst offenders.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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Comments (5)
  1. cjd says:

    Feline Bartonella (cat-scratch fever) is an illness in cats which is treatable with antibiotics. It is not fatal in humans and generally presents with mild symptoms when transmitted to humans. This article is ridiculously and deliberately alarmist and is not even accurate.

  2. Greyjay6 says:

    If scratched, wash affected area, and treat with rubbing alcohol. Problems arise only if the wound is left untreated.

  3. Stuckinindy says:

    Cat scratch fever, as you call it, has been around for years. People in animal care know if you get bit by a cat, you go to the doctor for treatment. It’s not the scratch, it’s the bite. I’ve had cats most of my life — been scratched a lot and never got an infection. Been bitten a few times and never got sick. If more people are getting sick now, it’s because cat ownership has gone up over the years, and people in general, seem to get sicker easier than in the past.

  4. Try2think says:

    Thank God that ordinary people are much much wiser than sensationalist journalist hacks.

  5. Cat scratch fever can be treated if it is incurred. Please stop publishing stuff like this except with a remedy) that makes it harder to get cats and other animals adopted. I have found homes for over 42 abandoned cats and kittens that uncaring people just threw out like trash. Cats and other animals get hungry, hurt like we do, they even sense your feelings toward them, need care and love just like we do. Please think about this and help every one you can. I was broke once, found a paralyzed cat almost frozen in the middle of the road on my way home. I called a vet and paid him my last $25.00 to put the kitty to sleep as he was beyond help. The very next day I got a $25.00 check in the mail for some drapery work I had done for Howard Johnson’s motel. so God does help you when you help animals. You will feel good about yourself when you help a human or animal and it’s a great feeling. By the way. I can still work even though I am a healthy 89 year old and look forward to more good years to help animals. Right now, my nephew has to drive to Macon, Ga to buy a big fishing net to get a little kitten out of a 27-foot deep well. He can’t get out by himself=but we were able to get some food to him and we should have him safely out by tonight. He is only about 2 months old and cute as a button. Please pray for him that we’ll get him safely out. GOD BLESS ALL YOU ANIMAL LOVERS!

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