by LAUREN KIM
Snuggling with cats seems like a harmless thing to do, but disease researchers have proved that these animals can be life-threatening.
Research from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the cat-scratch disease is more risky than what CDC scientists originally assumed in the ’80s. Bartonella henselae bacteria are carried in infected fleas, which the cats may attract. The infection is transmitted through the scratch or bite of a cat.
According to ibtimes.com, recent statistics show that 13,000 people were diagnosed with this disease with 538 requiring inpatient treatments between 2005 and 2013. Although only 4.5 out of 100,000 are identified with this disease, CDC scientists are starting to worry from the increase in reports of serious side effects.
Usatoday.com states that the side effects of this disease range from headache, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. In rarer cases, the heart and the brain are affected. However, the CDC has revealed that people can avoid this illness by washing hands after touching cats and keeping the pet indoors, so that they do not attract fleas.
“Although I like to play and snuggle with cats, I think I will start being careful and more sanitary,” said Anna Lin, freshmen.
Kittens that are less than a year old are more likely to carry the Bartonella henselae bacteria. People with weak immune systems, especially young children and the elderly are most likely to be affected.
“As a cat owner, I feel somewhat concerned about mine and my family’s health. After finding out about this disease, I feel that I should be more cautious by always washing my hands as soon as I’m done playing with my cat,” said Alan Guardado, sophomore.
Despite their innocent appearance, some felines can be dangerous to humans.