Medical Definition of Benign lymphoreticulosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Benign lymphoreticulosis: Cat scratch disease, a mild flu-like infection, with swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenitis) and mild fever of short duration, due to cat scratches, especially from kittens. There is usually a little bump (a papule) which may be pus-filled (a pustule) at the site of the scratch. The infection is self-limited and usually goes away by itself in a few weeks. It can also be treated with antibiotics, but it can cause a severe inflammation called bacillary angiomatosis in patients with weakened immune systems. A cat carrying the microbe does not show symptoms and it is not necessary to get rid of it. If someone in the household is at high risk, a test to detect the infection can be done and the cat can be treated. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Rochalimaea henselae, eventually reclassified as Bartonella henselae, named for Diane Hensel, a microbiologist. The disease has also been called regional lymphadenitis.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018