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Greek man, 53, was left confused after being BITTEN by his cat

A 53-year-old man was left confused and struggling to speak after being bitten by his cat, a bizarre new case report reveals. 

Doctors assumed the Greek patient, who was displaying some hallmark signs of a brain injury, had suffered a stroke.

But medical tests revealed the unnamed man’s neurological problems stemmed from when he was bitten by his feline on his leg. 

He developed ‘cat-scratch disease’ – caused by bacteria called Bartonella henselae found in the mouth and claws of cats.  

It causes fever, fatigue, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes. In extreme cases it can even cause deadly brain swelling and heart infections.  

The patient developed ‘cat-scratch disease’ – caused by bacteria called Bartonella henselae found in the mouth and claws of cats

He sought medical help at Laikon Hospital, Athens, where he presented with a fever and two ‘reddish’ papules where he was bitten.

Doctors, writing in the prestigious BMJ Case Reports, quickly assumed it was CSD and dished him out antibiotics.

But around a week after he finished the 10-day course of treatment, he was admitted to be seen by medics at the University of Athens.

He was struggling to speak, read and write – but doctors, led by Professor Michael Samarkos, were baffled when all tests came back clear. 

They noted how he had ‘deficits’ in all five areas of cognitive function.

Doctors made an initial diagnosis of Broca’s aphasia – damage to the brain usually caused by a stroke.


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However, brain scans revealed no abnormalities. 

Tests showed he had high levels of Bartonella henselae, and doctors gave him a second course of antibiotics.

His state of confusion disappeared after just three days on the drugs and he was discharged from hospital five days after that.

Doctors conducted a follow-up a month later which showed the patient had ‘no abnormalities in neurological examination’.

He returned to work and reported no difficulties in performing any of his tasks. He was instructed to be careful with cats in the future. 

The new case follows the tale of a 23-year-old Belgian man who was left unable to get an erection after being scratched by a cat last September.

Official figures suggest around 12,000 Americans succumb to cat scratch disease each year. It is unsure how many Britons develop the infection.

Watchdogs have previously warned that cat bites and scratches can be ‘devastating in terms of infection and permanent disability’ if left untreated. 

While dogs are responsible for the vast majority of animals bites, ones from cats are twice as likely to become infected, it is believed. 

Felines tend to create puncture wound, injecting bacteria deep into human tissue. But dogs cause a more open wound with tissue damage.