What is the role of fleas in the pathogenesis of 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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Answer

The organism has been isolated from fleas residing on infected cats. Studies have shown that flea-vectored transmission of infection among cats occurs with high efficiency and that in the absence of fleas, infected cats do not transmit the infection to uninfected cats.

Although flea-vectored transmission to humans has not been documented, it could explain some cases in which the patient has no history of exposure to cats. Treatment of cats with doxycycline is associated with a reduction of bacteremia, but whether such treatment prevents relapse or reinfection is unknown.


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