Cat Blinds Woman with Lick

A cat lick caused a woman to lose sight in one eye.

Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH
An Ohio woman who experienced sudden sight loss in one eye has learned that her cat is the cause, Toledo News Now reports.

Janese Walters told the news station that without warning the vision disappeared from one eye. “I woke up one day and I couldn’t see out of my left eye. I looked in the mirror and I thought I had pink eye or something.”

The bacterial infection she noticed came from cat scratch disease, as doctors at the University of Toledo ultimately diagnosed. It took a medical team a month to discover this cause.

Cat scratch disease — aka Cat Scratch Fever, aka Bartonella henselae — is an intracellular parasite that shows no signs in its cat carriers. If contracted by people, the disease requires a course of treatment over two to four months before the infection leaves the body.

The disease spreads via cat’s saliva and can affect many vulnerable spots. Fleas and flea feces also harbor the bacteria and when picked up by cats’ claws and transferred to people, the bacteria spreads to people through scratches as well.

“Anything that is exposed to the cat’s mouth, including if you have a little scratch that the cat licks – that’s how you can get it,” Dr. Kris Brickman told Toledo News Now. Brickman says about 40% of cats carry the bacteria. While it’s harmless to cats, cat scratch disease can cause serious infection in people.

Cat scratch disease is contracted more easily by people with compromised immune systems, however, a simple step to warding off the disease exists.

“Basically, go play with your cats, but wash your hands afterwards,” Brickman said. “Don’t let them lick any open wounds, and try not to get bit by any cat.”

Walters told the news station she’s adjusting to the change and is grateful that only one eye was affected.
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