How Humans Get Rabies From A Cat Scratch?

cat bite that cause rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that usually attacks the CNS (central nervous system). It is transmitted to cats through a bite from a disease carrier: foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats. Humans can also get rabies by cat scratch but it is less common. This virus mostly spread through the saliva of an infected animal after a bite.


Rabies is a viral infection that spreads through the bite of an infected animal. It causes inflammation of the brain in humans or animals. Rabies virus attacks the central nervous system (CNS). The primary way by which the rabies virus transmitted to cats is through a bite from a disease carrier: foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats. Infectious virus particles retained in a rabid animal’s salivary glands to disseminate the virus through their saliva. Early symptoms of rabies include fever followed by one or more of the following symptoms: aggressive movements, uncontrolled excitement, hydrophobia, paralysis of larynx, confusion, hypersalivation, dropping of jaw, muscular in coordination and loss of consciousness. When symptoms appear with time, it is generally too late to save the patient.

Cat-scratch disease

Cat-scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial infection spread by cats. CSD is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae. Most of the cats with this infection show no signs of illness but about 40% of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives. Kittens younger than 1 year most likely to have B. henselae infection. It spreads when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound or a bite or scratch that resulted in skin lesions. Mild infection starts almost after 3 to 14 days. The process of inflammation starts at the site of the scratch or bite. Inflammation resulted in swelling and redness with round raised lesions and can have pus. The infected area can be warm or painful.

If you suspect your cat has rabies and your pet is trying to attack, and you feel you are at risk of being bitten or scratched, call your veterinarian immediately.

The signs and symptoms of CSD include fever, headache, poor appetite, and exhaustion. Later, the lymph nodes nearest to scratch or bite can become swollen, tender, or painful.

Complications: Cat scratch disease can cause serious complications in humans. CSD can affect major organs of the body e.g brain, eyes, heart, or other internal organs. These complications require intensive treatment, which is more likely to occur in children younger than 5 years and people with weakened immune systems. Usually, in CSD an enlarged lymph node found in the axillary region of the patient, and wounds from a cat scratch on the hand.

In cats, CSD can cause inflammation of the heart. That usually causes labored breathing. B. henselae infection may also develop in other organs of the cat’s body e.g mouth, urinary system, or eyes.

Cat-scratch disease
Cat scratched a hand

How humans get rabies?

Humans can get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is quite rare that people may get rabies if infectious material like saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound. Rabies can also spread by non-bite exposure from a rabid animal but it is very rare. Non-bite exposures include scratches, abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes contaminated with saliva. In addition, rabies viruses also spread through the nasal route by inhalation is an example of non-bite exposure.

Research tells that cuddling a kitten could give pet owners life-threatening infection known as ‘cat-scratch disease’. All non-bite exposures like scratches and abrasions contaminated with saliva cause rabies. This illness can cause an intense fever, pustules and further complications that can even result in death. This is caused by bacteria transmitted from cat to cat by fleas, humans are at risk of contracting the disease by kissing cats, or by being scratched or bitten.

Prophylaxis– The doctors have also recommended that cat owners always wash their hands after stroking their pet, and avoid any contact between their own animals and stray cats. If the wound is not bleeding heavily, clean it with soap and water, and hold it under running water for several minutes. Dry the wound and apply antibiotic ointment, then cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Call your doctor if the bite or scratch broke or punctured the skin, even if the area is small.

Postexposure prophylaxis include human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) and rabies vaccine again on days 3, 7, and 14.

Rabies infected cat trying to attack
Cat infected from rabies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2021 All rights reserved