Elderly man suffered from life-threatening lumps on his neck after catching an infection from his cat
The blood tests that were performed on the man were able to reveal that he was fighting off a rare condition called tularemia
An unnamed man developed strange boils on his neck after he caught a life-threatening infection from his own cat. The 68-year-old, who is believed to be from Missouri, went to the doctor after he suffered from excruciating red lumps on the right side of his next for about two months. The blood tests that were performed on the man were able to reveal that he was fighting off a rare condition called Tularemia, known to cause fatal pneumonia in up to 60% of cases.
It is believed that the man contracted the disease from his cat who died two days before he started to feel quite ill. Tularemia is a rare disease that can affect humans and animals if undercooked meat from an infected animal, normally rabbits, is injested. Even skin-to-skin contact with a pet can spread the disease.
The Daily Mail reported that the elderly man was treated with antibiotics for a month after going to the doctor, and he made a full recovery. It was reported that even though the man suffered from the pain of the lumps, that had been slowly growing in size for two months, he only went to his doctor after he spent one week with a fever.
After the man was transferred to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, for further treatment, the doctors informed him that the lumps on his neck were, in fact, enlarged lymph nodes. According to the case report that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the blood tests revealed that he was healthy aside from the lumps caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis.
The man was, then, diagnosed with glandular tularemia which happens when the lymph nodes in the body swell up at the origin from the bacteria first entered the skin. This is the second most common form of illness from the bacteria; however, the most common form of illness has similar symptoms but with ulceration.
When the elderly man was asked by the doctors if there had been any unusual incidents in the days before he fell sick, he told them that his cat had died from "feline leukemia" only days before he started feeling ill. This particular cancer diagnosis for the cat had been made by a vet who had not performed any lab tests to confirm it. The man is believed to have caught the infection from his cat while he was giving it prednisone, a cancer drug.
He was immediately treated with doxycycline, an antibiotic, for four weeks. The lesions on his face started improving within five days of starting the medication and completely disappeared after three weeks.