68-Year-Old Man Breaks Out In Massive, Painful Boils On His Neck. And Doctors Think His Cat Is To Blame

Date September 19, 2018

A man was told by doctors that his condition might have originated from his beloved cats and now his story has been shared online to serve as a lesson to others. 

The cat did it

In an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine, it was revealed that a 68-year-old man came to the hospital, presenting with big and painful boils in certain areas of his neck. 

The man, who was not identified in the article, owned a cat who lived outside. This meant it was possible for the feline to catch something that could be potentially dangerous. 

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This man's cat passed away and a couple of days later, he began to feel something odd along his neck. At first, he thought it was only something temporary that could be cured at home with some off-the-counter medications so he did not go to a doctor.

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Then before he knew it, lumps started appearing on his neck and along his jawline. He had three lumps and still continued to treat it at home, not knowing that these were not minor bumps as he thought, they were actually his lymph nodes.

What finally forced him to go see a doctor was when he began to have a fever that lasted for days. He was later diagnosed with a condition known as glandular tularemia, caused by Francisella tularensis, a form of bacteria that can be found among rodents and other small animals. 

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The doctors suspected that his condition was caused by his cat, who had died from an illness which a vet had diagnosed as feline leukemia. The man learned that domestic cats can get infected through some of the preys they eat, like rodents - and they can transmit this bacteria to humans. 

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Luckily, the patient was properly treated and within a few weeks, his lumps were gone.

How to prevent contracting Tularemia from animals

According to the Center for Disease Control, Tularemia, while being a life-threatening disease, can be treated with a dose of antibiotics. However, it's better for your body if you know how to protect yourself from being infected. 

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Some steps you can take include: Using insect repellant, wearing gloves when handling sick or dead animals and to avoid mowing over dead animals.

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not treat yourself, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article. The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.