A man who developed a painful skin condition may have his now-deceased pet cat to blame.
An unidentified 68-year-old man from Missouri in the US developed huge swollen lesions on the side of his face and neck and visited his doctor to see what could have caused the unsightly boils, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Blood tests confirmed he had a rare disease called glandular tularemia, caused by a bacterial infection that can, in worst case scenarios, lead to fatal pneumonia.
The man endured the painful lesions for weeks until he developed a week-long fever.
His family implored him to seek medical treatment at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he was told he had most likely caught the disease from his outdoor cat, who had died two days before his lumps appeared.
“Domestic cats can become infected through the consumption of infected prey and can transmit the bacteria to humans,” the report states.
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If a human handles an infected animal they can be exposed to the bacteria.
Typical symptoms include swollen lymph glands, such as the 68-year-old man experienced, as well as fevers, headaches and exhaustion.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine report, the man was treated with the antibiotic doxycycline.
His lesions improved within five days and disappeared completely after three weeks.