Did woman get a life-threatening group A strep infection from a cat scratch?

This is a disturbing story of a Scottish woman, Moira Brady, 45, whose life has been ruined she says because of the simple act of trying to break up a fight between two cats. While she did so one of the cats scratched up. The scratch broke her skin.

I guess she thought nothing of it and a week passed by. She then decided to seek medical attention and was told that she had acquired two very serious bacterial infections: MRSA and Streptococcus A. One of her fingers had turned blue and was swollen.

Moira with badly infected hand

Moira with badly infected hand. Photo: SWNS.

The infections went right through her body and she had to have her finger amputated to stop the infection spreading. A hand could have been lost. She underwent a blood transfusion. She had two skin grafts and faces more operations in the future. The picture is horrible and telling.

This was not a case of cat-scratch fever. She acquired two nasty bacterial infections. The big question is whether she acquired those bacterial infections directly from the cat who scratched her i.e. from the claws of the cat or did she acquire the bacterial infection from another source because she had an open wound caused by the scratch? Or in some other way?

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I think this is a fair question because I did some work on whether cats carry the group A Streptococcus bacteria. In fact I found a very useful research project entitled: The family pet as an unlikely source of group A beta-haemolytic streptococcal infections in humans.

The summary to the study is clear: “Based on these findings, the family pet seems to be an unlikely reservoir for group A beta-haemolytic streptococci”.

This is because they found none of this bacteria on the 230 animals that they tested. These were cats and dogs incidentally.

This is why I have asked the question because I don’t think she acquired these infections from the cat. I think she got them elsewhere perhaps through the open wound.

You probably know that MRSA is normally found in hospitals and other institutions of a similar kind. It’s certain that this infection did not come directly from the cat. Perhaps she got it at the hospital where she was treated. Group A strep is often carried by people in the their throats and mouths without symptoms. This begs the question as to whether the scratch somehow turned a symptomless infection into one with very severe symptoms.

Source: Fox News.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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