Who discovered cat scratch disease (CSD)?

Updated: Feb 16, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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In 1931, Dr. Robert Debré and his colleague Georges Semelaigne observed an unusual case of suppurating epitrochlear adenitis in a 10-year-old boy at the University of Paris and noted a number of cat scratches on the affected side. These were believed to be portals of entry for tubercle bacilli. When the tuberculin skin test results turned out to be negative, the investigators pursued an infectious cause of feline origin.

While bacteriologic investigations yielded no clues, the physicians continued to observe similar cases of spontaneously remitting regional lymphadenitis associated with cat scratches in their pediatric population. Debre postulated tularemia, pasteurellosis, infectious mononucleosis, or tuberculosis as possible etiologic agents, but with no convincing proof.

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