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Illnesses
Cat-Scratch Disease



Cat-Scratch Disease
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.52

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cat-scratch, inoculation, oculoglandular, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, drainage, lesion, lymph, inflammation, node, henselae, swelling, diagnosis, inconvenience, syndrome, spleen
     content words:    United States


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Cat-Scratch Disease
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Did you realize that there is truly an illness known as cat-scratch disease? Well, there is. It might seem scary, but true, that one could catch an infection from a cat. The good news is that those with healthy immune systems rarely have to stay up nights worrying they've caught such a thing!
 
2     What causes cat-scratch disease? The bacterium bartonella henselae does. It can be found all over the world. It's more common in fall and winter. About forty percent of all cats have carried it at some point. Fleas actually spread it from cat to cat. Ironically, while a cat may carry it for many months, the cat doesn't actually get sick from it. It lives in the saliva of the cat, but since it won't appear sick, a person can't tell it's a carrier. Kittens are more likely to be infected from it.
 
3     About ninety percent of people who are diagnosed with cat-scratch disease have been near a cat. However, not everyone remembers an actual scratch or bite from the cat (where the disease usually enters). It also enters if the saliva of an infected cat touches broken skin or the eye.

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