Missouri man contracts rare, life-threatening illness from his cat


A Missouri man contracted a rare, life-threatening disease from a cat that left him with large bulges on his neck and face, according to a report published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

The case details how a sick cat infected its owner with a rare illness called Francisella tularensis, a toxic bacterium. 

Doctors said the 68-year-old man went to his doctor after suffering from a fever for about a week. 

This was then followed by two months of swelling on his face and neck.

The man also told the doctor that his cat had died from what a veterinarian had diagnosed as feline leukemia just two days before he too became ill. 

But now, doctors suspect the cat was also infected with Francisella tularensis, which they believe was transmitted to the man who was trying to help his cat. 

How exactly did it happen? Doctors said it could have happened in close contact, citing bites or scratches for the disease to be transmitted from cat to human. 

After the man tested positive for glandular tularemia, he was given antibiotics for four weeks. 

Doctors said the man’s lesions improved within five days and were gone completely within three weeks. 

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