Doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St Louis say that his cat caused these nasty symptoms on the side of this unnamed man’s face. Blood tests revealed that he was suffering from glandular tularemia caused by the Francisella tularensis bacterium.
Apparently the man’s veterinarian said that his cat was suffering from feline leukaemia when in fact his cat had feline tularemia. He may have become infected by this bacterium while administering cancer medication to his cat (due to bites or scratches). Incidentally, the cat died two days before the man’s symptoms first appeared. The cat may have got the disease through eating infected prey.
The 68-year-old man was reluctant to visit his doctor about these nasty boils. It took him two months to see his doctor after they first appeared. The disease can cause fatal pneumonia in about 50% of cases. The red lumps on his face are where lymph nodes are sited.
In retrospect it would have been wise of the man if he had gone to his doctor much earlier. This would have prevented this nasty bacterial infection developing. It’s quite painful too. It makes for a stark picture which is why I’m writing about it!
The cure for glandular tularemia appears to be quite straightforward. The man was treated with doxycycline, an antibiotic, which cured him within four weeks.
Rare disease. Uncertain transmission
However, it should be stressed that it is not clear that he did acquire the disease from his cat. It can be passed to humans in the air. For example, if a farmer drives a tractor over an infected animal it may release the bacteria into the air which can be ingested by the person. In addition, it is an extremely rare disease. It is the first time I have read about it and I have read a lot about zoonotic diseases transmitted from domestic cats.