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Man's Horrific Boils Turn Out To Be Life-Threatening Disease From Cat

A man from Missouri developed some boils on his neck that became more and more painful over a two month period. As the swelling and redness got worse, the man finally went to the doctor to see what was wrong.

Tests showed the man caught a potentially deadly infection from his cat, who died just before the man began experiencing symptoms.

The unnamed man is 68 years old and had recently lost his cat to a mysterious disease. He never connected the cat to the irritation that began on his face just two days after the feline passed away.

For two months, the man endured the boils on his neck and the side of his face. They continued to become bigger, redder and more painful over the next two months. He then came down with a fever that wouldn’t go away for a week.

The man finally went to his doctor to get a checkup.

The doctor asked the man if he had experienced anything unusual leading up to the illness, and the man revealed his cat died. A vet guessed the cat was suffering from feline leukemia, but he didn’t bother getting tests to see if the cat’s cause of illness was actually cancer.

The man had no idea that his cat had a contagious disease.

The doctor sent the man to the hospital where he was given blood tests. The startling results showed he had contracted tularemia, a rare disease that can be passed on to humans by animals, usually rabbits and rodents.

The disease is often known by the more common name, ‘rabbit fever’.

Tularemia, caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, can be contracted from eating the meat of an infected animal if it was undercooked, touching a dead animal that has been infected, breathing in dust that may have matter from an infected animal, or through flea or tick bites.

Usually, people in areas where rabbit fever is a problem are urged to use gloves when touching dead animals, use insect repellant, and to use a mask when mowing lawns, being careful not to roll over any animal carcasses.

Cats can also pass on the disease, and it can be contracted through skin-to-skin contact when a becomes infected. The man had been administering prednisone to his cat, and doctors believe this is how the disease was transferred to him.

Because he didn’t think his cat’s condition was contagious, he never suspected that his own worsening condition might be related to the disease that killed the kitty.

In some 60 percent of cases, tularemia will spread to a patient’s lungs. Once this happens, the patient can come down with a potentially deadly pneumonia. If the man hadn't caught the condition in time things may have gotten very serious.

Thankfully, a month of antibiotic treatment helped to clear up the infection. Most cases are treated with doxycycline. Within days, his lesions began to reduce.

Within three weeks, the boils had cleared away entirely and the infection was healed. Doctors say the patient made a full recovery. The case was documented in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Tularemia can cause a variety of different symptoms in sufferers. Aside from boils and skin ulcers, the infection may cause swollen lymph nodes, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, or, if it gets into the eye, the eyes may become inflamed and irritated.

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: PxHere, The New England Journal of Medicine, Pixabay, Public Domain Pictures

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