Man Contracts Rare Disease From His Pet Cat

If you're sat cuddling your cat while reading this, you might want to put little Felix down, because one US man caught a life-threatening illness from his feline friend, which left him covered in huge welts on his face and neck.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the man, from Illinois, picked up Francisella tularensis, a rare bacterial illness, from his pet cat.

The report details how the man was suffering from a fever for a week, before he paid a visit to his GP. The man also had a swelling on the right side of his neck for two months.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Speaking to his doctor, the man said his cat had died from, what the vet diagnosed as, feline leukemia just two days before he began feeling ill. The report adds that the vet never carried out lab tests to determine the cat's illness.

Now, doctors believe that the cat was actually suffering with Francisella tularensis and that it was passed from the cat to the owner, possibly while he was trying to treat his cat for its illness, where he may have been scratched or bitten.

The unidentified man was given a four-week course of antibiotics after he tested positive to the disease.

Francisella tularensis is pretty rare in humans, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which says there are only around 100 to 200 cases a year in the US.

The report states: "Domestic cats can become infected through the consumption of infected prey and can transmit the bacteria to humans.

"Now, as anyone who has had to give a cat medication can imagine, this process undoubtedly involved close contact and maybe even a few bites and scratches - a perfect opportunity for F. tularensis to jump from cat to human."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Thankfully, the report ends by confirming that the man is now fine, with the lumps improving within days of treatment and being completely healed after three weeks. The report doesn't reveal whether the man bought another cat or has since decided he's more of a dog-person.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

Featured Image Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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