Cat scratch disease and arthropod vectors: More to it than a scratch?

Mark Mosbacher, Sean P. Elliott, Ziad Shehab, Jacob L. Pinnas, John H. Klotz, Stephen A. Klotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cat scratch disease is a common infection, particularly in children, and clinicians need to be aware of its potential transmission to humans by arthropod vectors such as fleas and ticks in addition to animal bites and scratches. The absence of a vertebrate bite or scratch does not preclude infection with Bartonella henselae. Methods: Literature regarding arthropod transmission of B. henselae was reviewed. Results: B. henselae and related bacterial species are transmitted among cats and dogs by arthropod vectors. In the absence of these vectors, disease does not spread amongst the animals. On the other hand, disease can be spread to humans by bite and scratch as well as by arthropod vectors. Animals commonly infected with B. henselae and arthropod vectors are discussed. Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware that a common illness, cat scratch disease, can be transmitted by arthropod vectors and a history of an animal scratch or bite is not necessary for disease transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-686
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Bartonella henselae
  • Bartonellosis
  • Bites
  • Cat scratch disease
  • Fleas
  • Ticks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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