Baby catches rare meningitis from cat
Rare form of meningitis traced to family cat puts baby’s life at risk.
In an extremely rare case, a medical investigation has traced a life-threatening form of meningitis contracted by a baby to the family cat after the animal allegedly licked the baby’s bottle, according to the Mail Online
Sparkle was a baby of three months when she became ill as a result of meningitis which was caused by bacteria in Chesney, the family cat’s, saliva. This form of transmission of the potentially deadly viral strain of the illness is extremely rare, but her doctors at the time said that when admitted to hospital she was just “hours away from death”. Fortunately, she recovered after a few weeks.
The viral strain has been linked to the pasteurella multocida bacterium common to animals such as cats and dogs which may be passed on to humans by bites, scratches or saliva.
Medical experts say it is extremely rare for humans to contract meningitis in this way; a more common reaction to bites and scratches is a mild skin irritation.
Meningitis can be devastating, so here are some of the symptoms and what to do if you spot them:What is it?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is most commonly caused by a virus, but can also be bacterial. Most at risk for the disease are children under five, teens and young adults, as well as anyone whose immune system is already compromised. The symptoms of meningitis are a fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, aversion to bright light, drowsiness, distress on handling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. A baby may have a tense or bulging fontanelle, and be reluctant to feed. What to do
There is a vaccine against certain types of meningitis, which the government recommends be given to all babies from 6 weeks. If you suspect meningitis, contact your doctor immediately. There is no cure for viral meningitis, but it usually passes fairly quickly. Treatment is with paracetamol to control pain and fever. Bacterial meningitis is more serious and may require hospitalisation. It is treated with anti-biotics.
Cats and dogs make wonderful family pets, and simple hygiene will ensure the continuing health of both pets and kids.Do your kids wash their hands after playing with or feeding the family pets?