Wednesday, September 21, 2016

So We Do Know Where It Comes From?

According to a new Center for Disease Control study, you should not hug your cat, because it could kill you.

Not intentionally, although that might still happen if you mistakenly offend your furry little psychopath and then fail to appease its wrath with tuna and head scratching. But through catching a bacterial infection commonly called cat scratch fever. The CDC surveyed 13,000 cases over 8 years and discovered that the annual rate of outpatient diagnoses was 4.5 per 100,000, which was apparently more frequent than they anticipated. I know it's supposed to represent a percentage, but the idea of a half a case of cat scratch fever is still silly.

The bacteria are actually carried on fleas that are on the cats rather than on the cats themselves ("Told you so!" -- Augustus de Morgan and Jonathon Swift). So keeping fleas off the pets is a good way to reduce the risk of exposure. Since it's also a good way to reduce your risk of itching like crazy and having a houseful of fleas, a lot of people were already doing that.

Another opinion suggests that a common vector for the disease is the kitty next door, and suggests seeing the doctor so he can give you some cure. Unfortunately there is always the possibility of getting it some more, so it's probably advisable to not antagonize said kitty next door and perhaps try to calm it with a stroke of your hand (Nugent, T.).


fillyjonk said...

Cats can also give you toxoplasmosis, which apparently changes human behavior, allegedly driving you to acquire more cats. About 23% of Americans have had or are thought to have a latent form of it.

Unfortunately, you can also get it from gardening in soil that cats have, uh, responded to the call of nature in, which I take to mean "pretty much any soil in a neighborhood where cats roam free.

(I don't have cats - allergies - but would not be surprised to find I had been exposed through gardening and through having had cats as a kid.)

Friar said...

Cats -- "We are napping, thank you."