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Cuddling a kitten can kill you, study finds

The age group that is most at risk, as per the study, are children between five and nine years

Published: Updated:

Can cuddling a kitten make you sick and also lead to life-threatening infection? Scary? Yes, that is what a major survey by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in the US, has found out, reports the UK’s Independent newspaper.

Known as 'cat-scratch disease', the symptoms are intense fever, pustules. In the case of complicated cases, it can lead to even death, the study says.

Pet owners and others can pick up the disease when kissing or nuzzling cats, or by being scratched or bitten.

It says kittens and strays are more likely to be carrying the bacteria, which is transmitted from cat to cat by fleas.

Normal preventive measures are recommended by doctors, like washing hands after contact with the pet, and not letting your own animals and stray cats mingle.

Another easy way to prevent the disease being spread is to protect pets from fleas.

The study, took over eight years to complete and surveyed over 13,000 cases of cat-scratch disease. The incidence of the disease was 4.5 outpatient diagnoses per 100,000 population annually, which is higher than expected.

Only few of the cases studied resulted in death, though it may have been because some of these patients had hesitated to seek medical help.

The age group that is most at risk, as per the study, are children between five and nine years, among whom there were 9.4 outpatient diagnoses per 100,000 population.