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Infection from cat scratch. Should stay on antibiotics? Next course of action?

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If a serious infection from a cat scratch does not get better or worse in 10 days should the patient remain on antibiotics? Also. what and when should be the next course of action if the infection persists?
Posted Wed, 19 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jorge Brenes-Salazar 16 minutes later

Thanks for your health concerns.

The main possibilities to consider are failure of the antibiotic (usually Amoxicillin clavulanate is the best choice for cat scratch infections), complication such as cellulitis or abscess, or an alternative diagnosis.

You should visit the original provider who saw you for this issue and evaluate these 3 possibilities I outlined.

The usual course of action if such an infection does not get better by 7-10 days, but does not progress either, is to see a medical provider again to ensure that the antibiotic treatment has not failed. That is our recommendation. Until seen by a provider, you should continue on the treatment prescribed. If the infection persists, the provider might decide to choose another type of antibiotic like the one I mentioned, which is the one I have prescribed for my patients with cat-scratch disease (most common pathogen Bartonella henselae).

Hope this is helpful, wish you the best health, blessings.

Dr Brenes-Salazar MD
Department of XXXXXXX Medicine
Division of Cardiovascular Diseases
Mayo Clinic MN
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